Iran has invited its “old friend” India to invest in various infrastructure projects worth USD 8 billion.
Soon after a top level Iranian delegation concluded their recent visit to the South Asian country, Iranian Ambassador to New Delhi Gholamreza Ansari told the media that the lifting of the sanctions, imposed by the West, allowed his country to bolster trade ties with India. Ansari said that India has been requested not only to modernise Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, but also to invest in other sectors, like railways, ports, bridges and rail electrification.
The envoy expressed hope that the deal would be finalised during Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s upcoming visit to Tehran. During their stay in New Delhi, senior Iranian officials met the Indian minister to discuss various aspects of the bilateral ties. Swaraj assured the Iranian delegation that India would boost commercial ties with the “friendly” nation, as Iran has plenty to offer. She also said that the main purpose of her visit would be to prepare a ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Tehran.
Because of Iran’s geographical location, India considers the West Asian country as its gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia, Caucus and Russia. Keeping this fact in mind, Ansari said that connectivity is the most important area that would help the two countries forge a win-win partnership. He even welcomed India’s participation in the 600km-long railway network between Chabahar port and Zahedan, saying that it would be crucial for India to upgrade the Iranian railway network as the move would serve New Delhi’s long-term interests. He was of the opinion that India would gain a lot by linking Iran with Central Asia and Eurasia. “India will be the end-user in all these projects as these links will connect South Asia’s biggest country with the huge market, as well as help in transportation of commodities from the Eurasian region. It is a win-win proposition,” stressed Ansari.
The ambassador further highlighted the geographical proximity between the two countries, saying that coast-to-coast shipping between India and Iran could start soon. As the distance can be covered in two-three days, it will be easier for Tehran to supply crude oil and gas to New Delhi quickly.
Meanwhile, Ansari informed the press that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is ready to welcome Swaraj and Prime Minister Modi in Tehran, as he wants to boost ties with the South Asian powerhouse.