NEW DELHI – In a move to join India’s central Asia power game, Tehran has signed several agreements with New Delhi, boosting cooperation in key areas of trade, security, and energy, besides calling for giving the right to veto to India at UN Security Council.
The latest development came during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent visit to India where he held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and signed around nine pacts.
India’s Quest for Permanent UNSC Seat
Rouhani in his remarks during a press conference said, ”Why India with a population of over 1 billion doesn’t enjoy veto rights and why does the US have veto rights?”.
Rouhani also questioned why only five powerful countries, which had atomic bombs, have been given the right of veto at the UNSC.
Such announcement from Iran, a Muslim country in the neighbour of Pakistan, would strengthen India, which is already struggling to create its hegemony in the region through proxy wars.
Currently, five countries – China, France, Russia, US and UK – have the veto power, which can be used to prevent the adoption of any resolution.
Rouhani also underlined that the relations between both countries were beyond trade and business, adding, “We share cultural and historical relations with the two countries”.
The Iranian president made these remarks after both sides signed nine pacts with focus on strategically important Chahbahar Port.
Operational Control of Chahbahar Port
India and Iran on Saturday inked agreements, including giving operation control of part of the Iranian east coast port of Chabahar to New Delhi for 18 months.
The port, which is just 90 kilometers away from Pakistan’s Gwadar port, will develop a transit route between India, Iran, and Afghanistan, excluding Pakistan.
In $85 million worth project of Chahbahar, India is showing keen interest as it will gain access to the markets of Central Asian states by using this route.
PM Modi and Presiden Rouhani witnessed the leasing agreement regarding giving operational control to India of Shahid Beheshti port, a part of Chahbhar.
On the occasion, Modi said: “We will support the construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link so that Chabahar gateway’s potential could be fully utilised. We want to expand connectivity, cooperation in the energy sector and the centuries-old bilateral relationship”.
Both sides also signed agreements regarding double taxation avoidance, extradition, and cooperation in the agriculture sector.
Iran has also offered to increase freight discount on oil sales to India, aiming at to boost oil exports to the latter.
It is to mention here that India has been a key buyer of Iranian oil and gas. It has developed trade ties with Tehran despite the international sanctions over its nuclear programme between 2012 and 2016.
Indian Influence on Afghanistan
Both countries agreed to expedite efforts for bringing stability to war-torn Afghanistan as it would benefit the entire region.
India, which has been threatened Pakistan of launching surgical strikes and involved in regional disability, made high claims of making Afghanistan peaceful.
The US has also been making efforts to increase influence of India in Afghanistan in order to damage Pakistan’s development under the multi-billion dollar project, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“Looking at our common interests, we are committed to stopping the expansion of such forces that promote international organised crime in terrorism, extremism, illegal drug trafficking, cyber crime and various forms,” Modi said.