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India, Iran agree to eliminate 'forces that support terror'

18 February 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the joint statement with President Rouhani, said that the MoUs exchanged between India and Iran are reflective of both sides' strong relations and their commitment towards further strengthening it.

The two sides inked nine pacts, which included a lease contract between Iran's Port and Maritime Organization and India's Ports Global Limited (IPGL) to take over operation of existing facilities at the Shahid Beheshti Port - Phase 1 of Chabahar - for 18 months.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is on a visit to India this week, repaying a trip by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tehran in 2016.

Besides his official engagements in Delhi, President Rouhani will also visit Hyderabad.

The two sides, he said, made a decision to remove "all the bottlenecks on all the three issues". Rouhani is on three-day-long visit to India.

India-Iran trade during the year through last March amounted to almost $13 billion.

Besides, the two Leaders released a joint postage stamp depicting Deendayal Port, Kandla and ShahidBeheshti Terminal, Chabahar that reflected the enhanced prosperity through greater connectivity.

Since local gas prices in Iran are about $2.1 per mmBtu, India has asked for a stake in a producing oil field in Iran in addition to Farzad B to improve its average return on investment.

Chabahar "can change the trade relations game across the region and the world", he said, noting that India had already begun exporting its goods, including wheat, to Afghanistan via the Iranian port city.

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The US is not dealing with Iran alone on the issue of nuclear pact but also with the United Nations Security Council, which has approved the pact, said Rouhani at the event organised by the Observer Research Foundation.

Modi said that Chabahar Port offered "a golden gateway" for landlocked Afghanistan.

India has been closely working with Afghanistan and Iran to create alternative, reliable access routes for trade as Pakistan has been denying transit access to it.

The duo's wide-ranging talks pertained to boost cooperation in areas of defence and security, trade and investment, and energy.

Iran and India have agreed to bring stability to Afghanistan in the pursuits of both countries common interest in the region and beyond, according to a media report on Saturday. They also agreed to hold a Festival of India in Iran and establish a Chair of Indian Studies in the Tehran University.

Modi welcomed Rouhani as "an Iranian president visiting after 10 years".

New Delhi has allowed investment in Indian rupees in Iran. According to analysts, the change in stance is also due to the U.S. presence in Afghanistan that Russian Federation and Iran are watching warily given that neither have a good relationship with Washington.

On his part, Rouhani said, "We are determined to combat terrorism and extremism".

India, Iran agree to eliminate 'forces that support terror'