Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha

Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha

In a clear setback for India, Iran has invited China and Pakistan to participate in the development of the strategic Chabahar port, which is being built by India for the goal of bypassing Pakistan. "We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor".

Yestrday, Zarif had said that Iran has offered China and Pakistan to participate in the Chahbahar seaport project.

Tehran had also expressed willingness to improve ties with Saudi Arabia when Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Iran during the Yemen crisis, but the Kingdom's response was not warm, according to Mohammad Javad Zarif.

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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. Although, a congenial relationship between both countries is imperative for regional stability, only after CPEC is managed well should Pakistan participate in the Chabahar project as it could provide Pakistan a regional "leg-up" in economic planning. The issue was discussed at length in a meeting between Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. He also said that Gwadar Port and Chabahar Port needed to be linked through sea and land routes for development of deprived Eastern and South-eastern Iran and South Western Pakistan.

"We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that, " he added. After years of trying to make the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline a reality, Iran and India had given up on Pakistan.

The invitation extended to Pakistan by the Iranian foreign minister comes at the back of Indian officials repeatedly stating that the port is of strategic importance to India as it will allow India to bypass Pakistan in accessing Afghanistan and central Asia. In November 2017, India delievered the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port. The visiting Foreign Minister is being accompanied by a large trade delegation from Iran.

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