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India and Iran firm on reaching out to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eurasia

Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdullahian with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Munich on Saturday (Image courtesy: Twitter/DrSJaishankar)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today reiterated India's determination to expand cooperation with Iran in the fields of oil, industry, agriculture and trade, and stressed New Delhi's readiness to open a credit line for economic and trade partnership with Tehran.

In a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdullahian on the sidelines of the 58th Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Jaishankar discussed the latest developments in bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the situation in Afghanistan.  

Referring to the vast capacities for the development and comprehensive expansion of relations between Tehran and New Delhi, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian emphasised his country's readiness to implement the projects agreed between the two countries.

"During the meeting, the Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Republic of Iran and India agreed on the development of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, regardless of the developments in Vienna," the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement later.

The negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have been going on in the Austrian capital.

Iran Chabahar  
Abdullahian once again said today that he will be visiting Delhi "at the earliest opportunity" with a hope that several agreements for further development and enhancement of bilateral relations and consultation on some issues, will be reached between the two countries in the following weeks.  

During today's meeting, both ministers also exchanged views on the latest situation in Afghanistan, once again making the "common and close view" of the two countries on the need to form an inclusive government with the participation of all political groups in Afghanistan.

Iran specifically highlighted that a joint effort should be made in the regional arena.

"Productive meeting with Iranian FM @Amirabdolahian. Discussed economic cooperation, connectivity, JCPOA and Afghanistan," Jaishankar tweeted after meeting the Iranian foreign minister today.

Despite challenges posed by the Covid pandemic, India continues to send consignments of relief materials to Tehran.

Last week, India had supplied medical assistance consisting of anti-Tuberculosis medicines, as part of its ongoing humanitarian assistance to Iran.

Before that, New Delhi had dispatched one million doses of Covaxin vaccine to help Tehran in its fight against the Covid pandemic.

To ensure food security, India had also supplied 40,000 litres of Malathion (pesticide) to Iran under the government-to-government initiative for Locust Control Programme.

In January, Abdullahian had referred to India's humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and announced measures and cooperation by Iran to transfer this aid in the form of wheat, medicine and Covid vaccine to Kabul.

Both countries also continue to realise the important role being played by the Chabahar Port being developed by India during the humanitarian crisis as well as in enhancing regional connectivity.

Since the takeover of operations by India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ) in December 2018, the Shahid Behesti Terminal of Chabahar Port has 160 vessels, 14,420 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) and 3.2 million tons of bulk and general cargo till December 2021.

The port has handled shipments and trans-shipments from various countries including Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine, Oman, Romania, Bangladesh, Australia, Kuwait, Uzbekistan and UAE, witnessing a gradual increase in transit traffic between Central Asia and South Asia through the transportation corridor.

Also Read: India, Iran and Central Asia show urgency to unlock Chabahar port