Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (center), and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (right), hold hands in a show of solidarity after their trilateral meeting and signing agreements, at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 23, 2016. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
Iran President Hassan Rouhani will pay a state visit to India at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from February 15-17, 2018, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday. During his visit, both sides would review the progress achieved in bilateral relations and also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, added MEA.
President Rouhani’s visit to India will be significant because only last year in December, Iran launched the first phase of Chabahar port which holds strategic and economic importance for India. The Indian Express had reported on December 4, 2017 that the Chabahar port allows India to bypass Pakistan and reach land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. New Delhi views the Chabahar port project as a strategic response to China’s development of the Gwadar port in Pakistan, and its aggressive pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative.
It is also key to accessing the Central Asian markets for Indian goods. EXPLAINED: How Chabahar Port could bring India and its partners a new spring