In a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Indian capital on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iran considered India its “strategic partner and cannot forget the support India extended to Iran during its difficult times”, said an official Indian statement.
Modi affirmed India’s commitment to work with Tehran for the development of the Chabahar Port.
India has pledged to invest about $85 million in developing the strategic port, located on Iran’s southeastern coast, which would provide India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan and other central Asian countries.
“We both, India and Iran, are eager to engage in this. I believe sooner rather than later we will start serious work,” Javad Zarif told reporters on Friday.
Zarif is the first key minister of Iran to meet Indian leaders in New Delhi after the historic nuclear pact between Tehran and Western countries in July which is expected to lead to the eventual lifting of sanctions against Iran.
India is keen to be the first country to benefit from the deal in Asia.
Closer Iran-India ties would allow New Delhi’s leaders to secure cheaper energy imports to bolster economic growth.
Zarif also met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Friday when the two sides discussed bilateral issues.
Indian leader Modi had held talks with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in the Russian city of Ufa last month.
In his meeting with the visiting Foreign Minister, Modi reiterated that India attached high priority to its relations with Iran.
During his meeting with Modi, Rouhani had sought Indian investments of nearly $8billion in the infrastructure sector in Iran, for ports, railways and airports.
The Prime Minister also congratulated Iran for reaching an agreement with P5+1 countries and expressed confidence that it would contribute to greater peace and stability in the region.
Modi also “conveyed India’s commitment to work with Iran for development of the Chabahar Port that would have far reaching benefit, not only for the people of India and Iran, but also for Afghanistan and the entire Central Asia region,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s office said.
TBP and Agencies