Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 14
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Iran and India emphasized economic projects, especially transition and port sector.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his trip to New Dehli on August 14.
The sides emphasized development of Chabahar Port as well as railway projects including the North-South Corridor, IRNA reported.
India and Iran had signed a deal in May to develop the Chabahar port in southeast Iran, close to Pakistan's Gwadar port project.
China is determined to invest $660 million in Gwadar port, 50 kilometer away from Chabahar.
China signed a $46 billion investment with Pakistan in April, including $3.69 billion worth of roads and $5.9 billion railway projects in Pakistan.
On the other hand, Iran and India signed a $195-million worth deal to develop Chabahar port in May.
There is also a railway project, connecting Central Asia to Iran's Bandar Abbas port in Persian Gulf. The Central Asian side has been completed, but a part of the Iranian side needs to be developed. India also wants to connect Chabahar port to Iran's rail network.
"India is interested in participating in building road and rail networks which will link Chabahar to Afghanistan as well as to Central Asia," Indian Express reported August13.
Modi had met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting at Ufa in Russia last month. During the meeting, Modi had raised the issue of India's participation in the Chabahar port and the Chahbahar-Zahidan railway line, which runs up to the Afghan border.
On the other hand, Indian Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan is expected to lead a delegation to Iran in the coming weeks to scout for opportunities in oil and gas, following the end of sanctions on Tehran by the West. The talks will cover the development of the Iran's Farzad-B gas field, revival of the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and the modernization of the oil and gas infrastructure in the Islamic nation.
India is Iran's biggest oil client after China, while Iran increased non-oil export to India by 34 percent during the last four months.
Iran exported in the amount of $913 million to India in the first four months of the current fiscal year, started on March 21, which shares 8.45 percent of Iran's total non-oil exports.
However, Iran decreased imports from India by more than 46 percent during this period to $813 million, which shares 6.1 percent of Iran's total imports.
India also decreased Iranian oil purchase from 281,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 1H14 to 216,500 bpd in 1H15, which indicates a 22.9 percent decrease.
Edited by CN