India and Iran signed nine bilateral agreements and exchanged MOUs in the presence of Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Saturday.
“Both Iran and India respect each other. Under your excellency, India-Iran ties have strengthened,” Modi said at a joint statement while welcoming the Iranian president.
Modi lauded Rouhani’s vision for giving access for trade with Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port.
“We want to enhance connectivity… I thank you for helping develop Chabahar port,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said the two countries wanted to see Afghanistan safe and prosper. “We want to see our neighbours free of terrorism,” he added.
President Rouhani in his address, thanked PM Modi for the hospitality shown to him while on his visit to India.
“Relations between India and Iran are far beyond trade and diplomatic. Our relations are historical, civilizational,” Rouhani said.
“India has strategic relations, especially for transit and energy,” he added.
Rouhani asserted that both the countries were determined to combat terrorism and extremism, adding that regional conflicts must be resolved through diplomacy and political initiatives.
Rouhani also hailed the success of the Chabahar port and hoped for successful bilateral ties between India and Iran.
India is helping Iran develop Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan, which has refused to provide New Delhi access through a land route.
In 2016, India, Afghanistan, and Iran decided to establish a trade route for land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. India committed up to USD 500 million for the development of Chabahar along with associated roads and rail lines.
India shipped its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through Chabahar last October.
Earlier on Saturday, Rouhani met Modi and held delegation-level talks at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
“Both leaders held substantive and productive discussion on cooperation in trade and investment, energy, connectivity, defence and security and regional issues,” external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Rouhani began his three-day India visit after his arrival in Hyderabad on Thursday evening. This was his second visit to Hyderabad and the first after assuming charge as the president of Iran.
Addressing a meeting of religious leaders belonging to different schools of thoughts, Rouhani on Thursday, urged different Muslims sects to stay united and fight the Western forces, and added that the community should put an end to internal differences.
Rouhani advised the gathering to emphasize more in resolving their issues and strengthening relationships between the Muslim communities. He said Iran wants peace across the world and friendly relations with not only Islamic countries but other countries as well. It believes that there is no military solution to problems.
He said Iran has plan for the fraternity for India. “We do not want to have any difference with other countries”, he said adding how Iran “stood against the nations, and regions, in order to stop war conflict and violence.”
Rouhani also addressed a Muslim congregation at the historic Mecca Masjid after performing Friday prayers. He is the first Iranian President to have visited the Mecca Masjid.