TEHRAN: India and Iran today pledged to combat terrorism and radicalism as the two nations signed 12 agreements including a "milestone" pact on developing the strategic Chabahar port, giving a boost to economic partnership in the post-sanctions era.
India committed around USD 500 million for the important port in Iran's southern coast, which will serve as a "point of connectivity" between India, Afghanistan, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and East Europe.
"We have agreed to consult closely and regularly on combating threats of terrorism, radicalism, drug trafficking and cyber crime. We have also agreed to enhance interaction between our defence and security institutions on regional and maritime security," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here.
Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Islamic nation after 15 years on a bilateral visit after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was addressing a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after one-on-one talks.
PM: The eco fruits of the Chahbahar Agreement will expand trade, attract invs't, build infra, develop industry & create jobs for our youth.— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) May 23, 2016
His visit comes months after lifting of international sanctions on Iran following Tehran's historic nuclear deal with the Western powers over its contentious atomic programme. Terming terrorism as a "big problem running rife and rampant in the region", Rouhani said that both the nations have discussed the issue and agreed to share intelligence to combat the menace.
"Due to the importance of stability and security in the region and especially in the countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and because a big problem called terrorism is running rife and rampant in the region. "The two countries discussed about political issues as well and how they can cooperate on intelligence sharing and how they can get closer to each other in the fight against terrorism and extremism and how they can contribute to peace and stability in the whole region," Rouhani added.
As regards the economic cooperation, besides developing the Chabahar port, the two sides also signed agreements in diverse fields like trade credit, culture, science and technology as well as railways. "The bilateral agreement to develop the Chabahar port and related infrastructure and availability of about USD 500 million from India for this purpose, is an important milestone," said Modi. "This major effort would boost economic growth in the region. We are committed to take steps for early implementation of the agreements signed today," he said.