India, Iran ink 9 agreements in different areas

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India and Iran have agreed to expand connectivity beyond Chabahar Port, not only to link it with a Railway line to Zahidan, but to connect it with the 7,200-km-long International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) - a multi-mode network for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

Highlighting the significance of Iran's Chabahar port in reshaping regional trade, he said India has begun exporting wheat to Afghanistan via the Iranian port by the Sea of Oman.

The agreements were signed in areas like double taxation avoidance, extradition, agricultural cooperation, port lease, medicine and others.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today on the last day of his 3-day tour to the country. "We want to expand connectivity, cooperation in the energy sector and the centuries-old bilateral relationship". In 2009 right before the fourth round of United Nations sanctions on Iran, India had accounted for close to 40% of Iran's oil exports, making it the second-largest importer of Iranian crude after China.

"Why India with a population of over 1 billion doesn't enjoy veto rights and why does the U.S. have veto rights?", the visiting Iranian leader said while addressing a press conference in the national capital. India and Iran are now engaged in trying to reach an agreement over India developing Iran's Farzad-B gas field.

Rouhani announced that Tehran is ready to simplify visa procedures and hoped India will reciprocate to facilitate easy movement of people between the two countries.

"Both Iran and India respect each other".

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However, MEA officials maintained that the issue of former Indian Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav who India said was kidnapped by Pakistani agents from the Iranian territory did not figure in the official discussions.

There has been growing interaction between the National Security Councils of the two countries, which have chose to enhance regular and institutionalised consultations on terrorism, security and related issues such as organised crime, money-laundering, drug trafficking and cyber crime, the joint statement said.

Iran has been trying to reach a better bargain with India after crippling economic sanctions against it were eased following its 2015 nuclear pact with six world powers-the US, UK, Russia, France, China, and Germany, according to news reports.

Rouhani also slammed the USA for trying to control the destiny of Iranians.

During his speech, the Iranian President added that the intertwining of two cultures indicated the strong bonding and reaffirming of the friendly relations between India and Iran. Sources said Rouhani agreed to Modi's suggestions on this.

Hassan Rouhani, said, "The kindness accorded to us by the great govt of India, I once again thank the people and the government of India".

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