Indian envoy calls for boosting economic coop. with Iran

Speaking in Tehran on Tuesday night during a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of India’s independence, Rudra Gaurav Shresth said the two countries have long been friends and maintained close high-level contacts throughout the years.  
“All these interactions have served to reiterate the warmth of our relations, and the shared desire to broaden and deepen our cooperation,” he said.
“Both our countries are aware of the fact that our economic exchanges have not kept pace with the warmth and depth of our political friendship. The reasons for this are also well-known. We continue to make efforts to maintain our economic linkage, and to diversify them further,” the envoy said.
The Indian official said regional connectivity projects are a major area of cooperation between the two countries.
“India wishes to benefit from the strategically located and friendly territory of Iran for reaching the Eurasian and Central Asian markets. We are partners in the International North-South Transport Corridor, and in the Chabahar port. For India, these connectivity projects hold immense promise. In future, they can become the main pillars on which India-Iran friendship would rest,” he said.
The ambassador said the two countries can also deepen their exchanges in the field of culture, education and people-to-people links.
“In diplomacy between countries, this soft aspect is often an after-thought, subordinate to political, security and economic considerations. However, when it comes to India and Iran, our cultural connection is perhaps the basis of everything else we do together,” he said, hailing traditional links between the two cultures and their mutual impact on each other.
“No matter what anyone may wish, India and Iran can never drift apart,” Shresth concluded.
Also addressing the ceremony, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said cooperation between Iran and India, based on a long history of cultural commonalities, can help boost stability and security in the region.
“The broad and diverse interactions between Iran and India are not against any actor in the region, and the two countries’ cooperation will lead to stability and security in the region,” he said.
Bagheri Kani said bilateral transit cooperation, particularly the joint development of Iran’s Chabahar port, has become a symbol of bilateral cooperation and created opportunity for closer collaboration.

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