NEW DELHI: India on Thursday said Iran was free to choose partners for developing Chabahar Port.
New Delhi’s response came after Tehran on Tuesday invited China and Pakistan to participate in the development of the strategic Chabahar Port and extended support to the right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a press briefing, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "It is Iran government's prerogative to choose partners for developing infrastructure facilities at the port.”
Talking about New Delhi’s role, Kumar said, “India is supporting the development of the Chabahar Port as a robust and an alternate access route to and from Afghanistan and Central Asia."
The MEA spokesperson added that India and Iran signed an agreement for the interim operations of the Chabahar Port last month during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s India visit.
"During Iranian President’s visit, India’s assistance for building Chabahar-Zahedan Railway to realise the full potential of the Chabahar Port to connect to Afghanistan and Central Asia was also discussed. We continue to work with Iran for the full and effective operationalisation of the port," Kumar added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Pakistan from March 11-14.
On Monday, he met his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif. After the meeting, Pakistan’s Foreign Office issued a statement saying that both sides had “reiterated support for the peaceful struggle of the people of Palestine and Kashmir for their right to self-determination”.
Commenting on Pakistan's stance on Jammu and Kashmir, Kumar underscored that such falsehood statements were being constantly propagated by Pakistan and New Delhi's position on Jammu and Kashmir was well known and clear.
Terming Pakistan as an epicentre of terrorism, Kumar said Islamabad harbours globally designated terrorists and provides safe havens and sanctuaries to them.