Ahead of the NAM summit, India, Iran and Afghanistan will hold a strategic trilateral meet on Sunday in Tehran in which key issues, including regional security and economic situation and best utilisation of Chabahar port, a significant commercial venture, will be discussed.
The trilateral meeting, to be led by the Deputy Foreign Ministers or Foreign Secretaries of these three countries, will discuss the commercial venture, which is under consideration for some time now, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters in New Delhi on Saturday.
The meeting, initiated by the Iranian side, will also look into the report by the Indian Ports Association (IPA) on various commercial activities which could be taken up through the port in the sanction-hit country.
“It (report) has a number of different possibilities and we are studying it... The idea is to take forward what we need to do with Chabahar. What is our common interest...,” Mr. Mathai said, while noting the significance of the port and related infrastructure as an alternative route to Afghanistan.
Located in South East Iran, Chabahar port offers tremendous opportunities for trade and commerce for India in Afghanistan and Central Asia bypassing Pakistan, which blocks the country’s land routes.
Iran, which is facing harsh sanctions from the West, is inviting investments for developing the industrial zone.
The trilateral meeting is likely to set up an expert’s group to study the IPA report and other modalities to develop the port.
The issue of security and stability in Afghanistan is also likely to figure in the meet given the fact that Iran is not in favour of presence of NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The trilateral meeting is being held ahead of the NAM Summit on Thursday and Friday.