New Delhi, March 17
Iran wants India to speed up the development of the Chabahar port as well as resume its purchases of crude in the wake of the Saudi-Iran agreement.
Iranian President Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi is likely to take the talks forward when he arrives in India in September for the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation where Iran will be formally included as a member.
Giving the examples of Saudi Arabia and the UAE which along with other Arab states are now planning to invest in Iran, Iranian Ambassador to India Iraj Elahi hinted that India should get over its trepidation of American sanctions.
Asked if India’s foreign policy establishment missed the opportunity to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran instead of China, the Ambassador said no one from India “approached us to express readiness to bridge the gap’’ but pointed out that India always had constructive policy for the region.
He also allayed apprehensions about China’s mediation. “I think it should not be a concern for India. It would be of benefit to India since it would help intensify the stability and peace in the Persian Gulf region. China is competing with the US as a superpower and India is a rising power,’’ he observed.
Iran’s message was basically three-fold—it wanted India to speed up work on the Chabahar port, enter into an energy relationship again and with the money earned from sale of crude, buy goods from India for its own needs. “Indian government is positive and I fully felt its eagerness to (develop) Chabahar,’’ he said.
However, there was a tinge of disappointment on Chabahar. “As India is a maritime country, we needed money, support and experience. We also expected India to send cargo through Chabahar. According to these criteria you can judge how much India has fulfilled its commitment,’’ he observed while pointing out that Iran is now connecting the port to Iran’s railway network.
“For India, Chabahar is important. For Iran also, it is important. Because of this importance, the speed of cooperation, the speed of progress and the speed of promotion in Chabahar should be faster than what it is now,’’ the envoy added.
Elahi also wanted India to resume its energy relationship with Iran which was snapped under the UPA Government due to US pressure. The money that Iran will get from crude sales could be used to source its requirements from India. “We are importing rice from India. All that Iran needs is available in India. We want to import different things from India,’’ he said.
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