Iran-India strategic syndicate

01:56 PM | 1 Mar, 2018
Iran-India strategic syndicate
Senators Raza Rabbani and Farhatullah Babar either don’t read the newspapers or selectively attend to them. Hence, incoherent and bizarre activism echoes in the ‘supreme’ parliament. Blinded by ideological taints or political expediency, the country’s politicians have perfected the art of justifying their suicidal blunders.

A fortnight ago, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made a momentous visit to India, underlined with bold statements and far-reaching agreements. The veteran parliamentarians and newcomers (Arif Alvi and Shireen Mazari) alike have yet to shed light on Iran’s unequivocal support for India’s ‘right’ to veto power at the United Nations Security Council as President Rouhani praised Modi’s ‘peace-loving’ country.

None of the mainstream newspapers penned editorials when Tehran stood by Delhi for its bid for veto power. Their headlines were vague and misleading. A fortnight later, the issue is buried under the pile of everyday news. Before detailing the implications of Rouhani’s India trip, here are some details.

Iran’s President Rouhani reciprocated Indian premier Narendra Modi’s 2016 visit to Tehran that culminated in signing a trilateral agreement on transit and transport with Afghanistan.

The Iranian leaders landed in Hyderabad and address a congregation in Hyderabad on February 16 where he landed straight from Tehran. It marked a new addition to the diplomatic toolkit of the theocratic regime.

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee before the signing of agreements in New Delhi on January 25, 2003.
Iranian President Mohammed Khatami with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee before the signing of agreements in New Delhi on January 25, 2003.

The delegation level talks between Narendra Modi and Hassan Rouhani picked the thread from President Mohammad Khatami’s groundbreaking visit of 2003, which was marked by Iran-India defense pact. The New Delhi declaration of January 23, 2003, serves as the basis of relations between the two countries. Nine agreements were announced to have been signed while much remains under the wraps.

Speaking the Observer Research Foundation, Rouhani described his host country as a peace-loving country, adding, “Why India with a population of over 1 billion doesn't enjoy veto rights and why does the US have veto rights?”

He also said, “India and Iran have a common stance in effectively dealing with terrorism and extremism, and called for concerted regional efforts to deal with the challenge.”

The Iranian leader boasted that Tehran and Delhi did not disagree on a ‘single topic’ as both sides deliberated on a range of pressing bilateral, regional and international matters.

The joint statement also quoted Rouhani acknowledging the aspiration of India to play a greater role in international fora. “The two leaders reiterated the importance of strong United Nations and emphasized the need for an early reform of the Security Council reflective of the current geopolitical realities.”

Rouhani and Modi meet in 2018
Rouhani and Modi meet in 2018

Though either side does not publicly discuss defense pacts under the larger umbrella of 2003 security agreement, the Indian media did hint at exhaustive consultations. Prima facie, the two National Security Councils will “enhance regular and institutionalized consultations’ on issues such as terrorism and security, and money-laundering, drug trafficking etc.

Iranian Navy has keen for India cooperation and the issue gets a mention in the joint statement as well. The publicly declared engagements will vary from port calls to training and regular exchanges of defense delegations. Much remains shrouded in secrecy.

The convergence of Tehran and India’s viewpoint is also evident on matters relating to Afghanistan. The joint communiqué reads, “They stressed the significance of strengthening India-Iran-Afghanistan trilateral consultations and coordination, including by suitably supplementing their cooperation on Chabahar. In this context, they also called upon the countries of the region to come forward for enhancing regional connectivity and take steps to do away with the obstacles on land transit.”

For Iran watchers globally, handing over to Chabahar’s control to India was the highlight of the landmark visit. The lease contract for Shahid Beheshti Port-Phase 1 of Chabahar was signed between Iran's Port and Maritime Organization and India Ports Global Limited. Inaugurated in early December 2017, India, Iran and Afghanistan have ratified the Trilateral Agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor while wheat assistance from India through Chabahar Port has also opened one-way traffic to Afghanistan. The Indian businessmen committed to setting up plants fertilizers, petrochemicals and metallurgy plants in Chabahar FTZ in due course of time. The port and industrial free zone flags as India’s newly acquired prominent strategic asset. Rouhani’s visit clears some mistrust about India’s financial commitments towards the development of the port, which rest at meager $500 million.

Here is a list of other pacts and memorandums signed between Iran and India:

•          Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income

•          MoU on Exemption from Visa requirement for holders of Diplomatic Passports

•          Instrument of Ratification of Extradition Treaty

•          MoU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine

•          MoU on the establishment of an Expert Group on Trade Remedy Measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest

•          MoU on Cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors

•          MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

•          MoU on Postal Cooperation

Both Delhi and Tehran are still haggling over the Delhi’s desire to buy a stake in South Azadegan oil field. The regime wants to maintain sovereign control over such vital national assets. Thus, there has been no progress beyond sharing some data on certain fields to the Indian team last week in Tehran. Meanwhile, India has also offered a development plan worth about $6 billion for Farzad B but Iran has not been much forthcoming. Delhi also aspires to get $4 per million British thermal units. So far the Rouhani government has been looking towards the Russians for the development of the gas field.

On the other hand, Iran is not shunning India overture outrightly as it seeks to regain its lost status of the second largest petrochemical supplier to India. Though Iran is cutting down on the discount offered during the sanctions'​ era, from 80 percent to 62 percent, it offers Indian refineries to increase purchases in lieu of 100 percent freight discount.

Iran’s quest to dominate Indian petrochemical market is frantic. Last year, Iraq superseded Saudi Arabia to become India’s largest exporter of oil. Tehran currently rests at the third slot.

With such ground realities and trends in India-Iran relations, the obvious attempt both the countries have made is de-hyphenate their bilateral relations from Pakistan’s. As much warming ties with Tehran seems a tough test for Delhi in Washington DC, no less challenging will be for Iran to justify to Pakistan teaming up with India in Afghanistan (through logistical, political and diplomatic support).

The next part of this column will explain the implications and responses to India-Iran ties in greater detail tomorrow. To be concluded . . .

Naveed Ahmad
Naveed Ahmad

The writer is a distinguished investigative journalist and academic with extensive reporting experience in the Middle East and North Africa. He specializes in matters concerning security, diplomacy and governance.


Today's currency exchange rates in Pakistan - Dollar, Euro, Pound, Riyal rates on Sept 30, 2023

KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on September 30, 2023 (Saturday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 286.05 289.15
Euro EUR 307 310
UK Pound Sterling GBP 353.3 357
U.A.E Dirham AED 80 80.8
Saudi Riyal SAR 76 76.75
Australian Dollar AUD 189 191
Bahrain Dinar BHD 778.84 786.84
Canadian Dollar CAD 220 222.2
China Yuan CNY 40.24 40.64
Danish Krone DKK 41.83 42.23
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 37.93 38.28
Indian Rupee INR 3.57 3.68
Japanese Yen JPY 1.63 1.71
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 945.27 954.27
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 62.62 63.22
New Zealand Dollar NZD 174.58 176.58
Norwegians Krone NOK 27.87 28.17
Omani Riyal OMR 762.31 770.31
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 80.69 81.39
Singapore Dollar SGD 208 210
Swedish Korona SEK 26.62 26.92
Swiss Franc CHF 323.01 325.51
Thai Bhat THB 8.12 8.27

Gold Rate in Pakistan Today – October 1, 2023

Today Gold Rate in Pakistan

KARACHI - The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs 202,800 on Sunday.

The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs 173,870.

Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs168,730 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs196,807.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

Today Gold Price in Pakistan - 1 October 2023

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Karachi PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Islamabad PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Peshawar PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Quetta PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Sialkot PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Attock PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Gujranwala PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Jehlum PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Multan PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Bahawalpur PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Gujrat PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Nawabshah PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Chakwal PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Hyderabad PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Nowshehra PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Sargodha PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Faisalabad PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420
Mirpur PKR 202,800 PKR 2,420


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