Iran offers Pakistan, China participation in India's strategic Chabahar port project

Singh was summoned after Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted Pakistani officials of accusing India of harassing its diplomats and their families in the country and threatened to pull out the families if the intimidation did not stop

Singh was summoned after Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted Pakistani officials of accusing India of harassing its diplomats and their families in the country and threatened to pull out the families if the intimidation did not stop

"We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chahbahar", Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, said while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Monday, according to the daily.

Zarif's visit to Pakistan will greatly contribute to building trust and expanding bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad, she said. These caveats must be deliberated as the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor approaches completion, with expansions already being explored such as between Gwadar and Chabahar.

There was no formal reaction from the Indian side but officials here said that they will wait to hear directly from Iran over the issue.

Earlier, while addressing the forum, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah invited Iranian businessmen for investment in the province, mainly in Thar coal projects, wind and solar energy sector and infrastructure. The considerations go beyond economic gain because of the triad of relations between Pakistan and Iran, Iran and India, and India and Pakistan.

India is set to start operations in this part of Chabahar with borrowed Iranian equipment by May-end. As India recently signed a lease to manage operations at the port, the decision to join hands with Iran for the development of the project is not a straightforward one.

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Pakistan on Tuesday accused India of intimidating and harassing its diplomat's children while they were on their way to school. Zarif said, "There is no reason for hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia". Pakistan has in the past tried to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Iran, but could not convince Riyadh to accept its good offices. The issue was discussed at length in a meeting between Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. These regions need to be linked by sea and land routes, he said.

Chabahar is said to be becoming a success story in the India-Iran relationship. In November previous year, India delivered the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port. The port opened a new strategic transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan that bypassed Pakistan.

This is hardly the first connectivity project that Iran has tried to work out with Pakistan on board.

In this context, India's not likely to be pleased with the Iranian foreign minister's comments.

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