Iran foreign minister’s visit reaffirms resolve of two countries to strengthen ties

News: Iran’s Foreign Minister was on a three-day visit to India in keeping with Iran’s “Asia-oriented” foreign policy. It was the first ministerial-level visit from Iran since Ebrahim Raisi assumed the Iranian presidency.

What is the convergence of interests between India-Iran?

The “Tehran Declaration” between India and Iran affirmed the shared vision of the two countries for an “equitable, pluralistic and co-operative international order”. It symbolizes common geopolitical interests:

Ex-Iranian President envisioned “dialogue among civilisations” as a paradigm of international relations based on principles of tolerance, pluralism and respect for diversity.

India sees Iran which borders the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, as a land bridge to Central Asia and Eurasia which have seen emergence of independent landlocked countries over the last three decades.

Some developments in the India-Iran Relationship

Despite the US Sanctions, Iran, India, Russia and a few other countries in the Eurasian region, have continued to work on the multi-modal International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
Both countries have pledged to redouble their efforts to build the railway line between Iran’s Caspian port of Rasht and Astara on the Iran-Azerbaijan border, aimed to connect the railway networks of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.

Iran’s Chabahar port, which India is building, is also a story of perseverance in the ties between the two countries.

In recent times, India has abstained on the resolution by the US and its allies to censure Iran at the IAEA.

 

What are the challenges in India-Iran relationship?

The US sanctions on Iran and Tehran withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018, worsened the bilateral relations, especially in India’s energy imports from Iran

At present, India is strengthening its new partnerships within its regional vision centred on the Indo-Pacific. Whereas, Iran is deepening its relationship with China and Russia which have been playing aggressive geopolitical games in their own neighbourhood and also at the global level.

The “sluggish” pace of the port’s development. Tehran has maintained that Chabahar does not seek to rival Pakistan’s Gwadar port being developed by China.

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Pakistan has been leading the efforts to link Central Asia with Karachi through a trans-Afghan railway.

Way Forward

New Delhi is pushing for integrating Chabahar into the 13-nation International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

Recently, the maiden India-Central Asia summit agreed on creating a Joint Working Group on Chabahar.

The revival of the US-Iran nuclear deal could give a fillip to India’s economic ties with Iran. India’s interests in continental Asia can be served with an improved bilateral relation with Iran.

Source: The post is based on an article “Iran foreign minister’s visit reaffirms resolve of two countries to strengthen ties” published in the Indian Express on 17th June 2022.

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