Some 16 months after its last edition Iran and India will hold a joint commission meeting from Thursday in a bid to firm up economic bonds riding on energy cooperation and push for trade corridors to get to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
The two-day meeting of the commission is co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna and Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini.
The meeting is expected to provide fresh momentum to bilateral relations, which had decelarated for some time following India’s vote against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency, in areas such as energy and trade corridors in Central Asia and greater cooperation and information sharing on counter-terrorism.
Tehran must also be happy after Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao expressed displeasure at the “unilateral sanctions” imposed by US on Iran against it’s nuclear programme.
The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will again figure in the discussions after a long period of disinterest from India due to political reasons.
But, apart from the pricing issues with Iran, security of the pipeline passing through Pakistan still remains a tougher issue for India to address.
Following the opening of the Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan, which was built with Indian assistance, New Delhi will push for a speedy pace of work at Chabahar port that can be connected to the highway.
This will give India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.