Modi to visit Iran on May 22, strategic Chabahar pact on cards
The two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Iran on May 22 and 23, emerging out of western sanctions over its nuclear programme, is expected to see the two countries cementing ties in areas such as regional connectivity andindia Updated: May 18, 2016 00:11 IST
The two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Iran on May 22 and 23, emerging out of western sanctions over its nuclear programme, is expected to see the two countries cementing ties in areas such as regional connectivity and energy cooperation.
The formal signing of the Chabahar agreement, which will allow India access to Afghanistan and central Asian countries via the strategically-significant Iranian port, is likely to take place during the visit.
In terms of energy cooperation, the Prime Minister will pursue his Iranian interlocutor for awarding the Farzad B gas field in Iran, which awaits some domestic clearances. Last year, ONGC Videsh had proposed a $3 billion plan to develop Farzad B, which is estimated to hold initial in-place gas reserves of 12.5 trillion cubic feet.
The Chabahar port will reduce landlocked Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan. The officials of India, Iran and Afghanistan have decided the final contours of the agreement, which New Delhi sees as a strategic bulwark for greater movement of people and goods among the three countries.
In February this year, union cabinet had approved a credit of US$ 150 million for development of Chabahar Port in Iran.
“The Prime Minister will call on the Supreme Leader of Iran (President Hassan Rouhani) and hold talks on a wide range of subjects of mutual interest with him,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
Sources said India has also started the process of paying back the dues from oil import amounting to over $6 billion to Iran, using European banking channel as demanded by Tehran.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Iran in 2012 to attend a summit of the non-aligned countries.