Friday, 16 November, 2018

Iran free to choose partners to develop Chabahar port: MEA

Join us, don't fight us: Iran invites Pakistan to be part of Chabahar project with India Regional peace is dependent upon wider cooperation within West Asia: Pak Army Chief to Iran
Ellis Copeland | 15 March, 2018, 21:41

Days after Iran invited China and Pakistan to participate in development of the Chabahar port, India today said it was the prerogative of the Iranian government to choose its partners for the project. "I hope that they (Saudis) have the same feeling and be ready to bridge the differences", Zarif said in a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan. "It will take a shorter time to transport cargo from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and to Europe", Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said. The chief diplomat also said that Tehran has announced readiness to start talks with Saudi Arabia on contentious issues.

Pakistani officials have said the troops will be providing training to Saudi forces, particularly in mountain warfare, and will not be taking part in the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling Iran-allied Houthi rebels since 2015. Any involvement by Pakistan or China in Chabahar would be detrimental to Indian interests. The considerations go beyond economic gain because of the triad of relations between Pakistan and Iran, Iran and India, and India and Pakistan.

India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016 to jointly develop the Chabahar port, opening a new strategic transit route between the three nations and other Central Asian nations, bypassing Pakistan. The Iranian minister also, meanwhile, extended the invitation to China.

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In November last year, India delivered the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port. "Shipment of wheat assistance to Afghanistan through Chahbahar is being successfully carried out since October last year".

Chahbahar, the port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nations southern coast is easily accessible from Indias western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistans Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar. "Our relations with India, just like Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Islamabad as we understand Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran". "We will continue to work with Iran for deepening connectivity between the two ports", he said.

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