India and Iran signed nine agreements on Saturday, including in areas such as double taxation avoidance, extradition, agriculture and traditional medicine.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iran President Hassan Rouhani held “substantive and productive” talks and discussed cooperation in defence, trade, energy and regional issues, said Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. At a joint press conference, the leaders said they also discussed connectivity, terrorism and drug trafficking.
Regional conflicts must be resolved through diplomacy and political initiatives, Rouhani said.
The Iranian leader is on a three-day visit to India, his first since he came to power in 2013. Before coming to Delhi, he was in Hyderabad for two days, where he met Muslim intellectuals.
Modi said he appreciated the way Rouhani had shown leadership in developing the Chabahar Port. Rouhani’s visit is significant as India and Iran work on making the strategically located Chabahar port operational. India is helping develop Chabahar, in Iran, to open a direct trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.
The Chabahar port is crucial not only because Pakistan does not allow India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan, but also because it will act as a counter to the nearby Gwadar port in Pakistan, which China is developing.
The two leaders also agreed to step up efforts to bring stability to war-torn Afghanistan. Modi said India was committed to help Afghanistan become “a peaceful, secure, permanent, prosperous and pluralistic” country. “We want to see our region and the world free from terrorism,” he said.
Later, in a separate address, Rouhani said that Iran would adhere to the terms of the nuclear deal it signed with global powers till “the last breath”, PTI reported. He warned the United States that it would “regret” if the pact was broken.
In 2015, Iran had signed an agreement with the US, Russia, China and three other European countries in which it had agreed to limit its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most sanctions imposed on the country. However, in October 2017, US President Donald Trump refused to certify that Tehran was complying with the deal, and threatened to terminate the deal.