Iran offers Pakistan, China participation in India's strategic Chabahar port project

Nellie Chapman
March 14, 2018

Singh was summoned after Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted Pakistani officials of accusing India of harassing its diplomats and their families in the country and threatened to pull out the families if the intimidation did not stop. The move would likely put pressure on the Pakistani policy making apparatus, since it would have to weigh involvement in a project that would make it part of a corridor that undercuts its geographical advantage and offers to cut down on India's strategic advantage, against the setback it could deal to its own ambitions over the nearby Gwadar Port.

Iranian Foreign Minister Moammad Javad Zarif addressed the opening of Iran-Pakistan joint business forum on Tuesday in Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Zarif likened Iran's relations with India to Pakistan's ties with Saudi Arabia. "Our relations with India, just like Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Islamabad as we understand Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran", the Iranian foreign minister said. "We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chahbahar", Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, said while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Monday, according to the daily. The issue was discussed at length in a meeting between Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. The first phase of the Chabahar port in south-east Iran, which India is developing, was inaugurated in December past year.

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Tehran:Iran has invited Pakistan to become a part of the Chabahar project, Pakistani media have reported.

"We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that", Zarif said. "I personally feel both the governments would have to sit together to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers, simplify the customs procedures and re-establish a banking channel after lifting of sanctions on Iran, speedy execution of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, signing of Free Trade Agreement, etc". These regions need to be linked by sea and land routes, he said.

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