Prime Minister’s Visit to Iran: May 2016

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi paid a state visit to Iran on 22-23 May 2016.

Prime Minister Modi called on the Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei on 23 May and held talks with President Rouhani following his official welcome in an impressive ceremony.

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Location of Iran on World Map

Prime Minister Modi and President Rouhani witnessed the signing of the following cooperation documents and jointly addressed media:

i. India-Iran Cultural Exchange Programme

ii. MoU between the Ministry of External Affairs of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran on Policy Dialogue between Governments and Interaction between Think Tanks

iii. MoU between Foreign Service Institute, MEA and the School of International Relations, Iran’s MoFA

iv. Implementation Protocol between Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of S&T and Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology on cooperation in the fields of science and technology

v. MoU between Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation of the Islamic Republic of Iran

vi. Bilateral contract on Chabahar Port for port development and operations between IPGPL [India Ports Global Private Limited] and Arya Banader of Iran

vii. MoU between EXIM Bank and Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation [PMO] specifying the current terms of credit line for Chabahar Port Project

viii. Confirmation Statement between EXIM Bank and Central Bank of Iran on Projects in Iran

ix. MoU between ECGC [Export Credit Guarantee Corporation] Limited of India and the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran [EGFI]

x. MoU between National Aluminium Company Limited [NALCO] and the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation [IMIDRO]

xi. MoU between IRCON and Construction, Development of Transport and Infrastructure Company [CDTIC] of Iran

xii. MoU for cooperation between the National Archives of India and the National Library and Archives Organisation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In their friendly, cordial and wide-ranging discussions, the two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations, the evolving regional situation as well as global issues of mutual interest. They recalled the principles on development of bilateral relations articulated in the “New Delhi Declaration” of 23 January 2003.

President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi expressed their satisfaction at the progress in bilateral ties since their meeting in July 2015 in Ufa. Prime Minister Modi complimented the leadership of Iran on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and subsequent developments, including lifting of certain sanctions, which represent the triumph of diplomacy and sagacity.

The President of Iran, appreciated India’s stance and support for close cooperation extended to the Iran during the period of imposed sanction and expressed the view that the Iranian people never forget the positive role India played in that period.

The leaders were united in their determination to build a strong, contemporary and cooperative relationship that draws upon the strength of the historical and civilisational ties between the two countries, leverages their geographical proximity, and responds to the needs of an increasingly inter-dependent world.

They were also of the view that their governments must enable and encourage utilisation of the emerging opportunities to the maximum possible extent in all areas of bilateral economic and commercial cooperation, in particular connectivity and infrastructure, energy, and trade & investment. To this end:

i. President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi agreed to further intensify high-level engagement through more frequent and wider exchange of bilateral visits at all levels, as well as meetings on the sidelines of regional and multilateral meetings.

ii. Both sides decided to give full play to the strategic location and unique role of Iran and India for promoting multi-modal connectivity within and across the region, hoped that India’s participation in developing Chabahar Port will open a new chapter in bilateral cooperation and regional connectivity, and encourage more maritime links and services between the two countries, details of which will be worked out by authorities concerned.

iii. Welcoming the signing of the trilateral Agreement on Establishing Chabahar Transport and Transit Corridors later today in the presence of President Rouhani, Prime Minister Modi and President Ashraf Ghani, the leaders stressed the historical significance of the Agreement.

iv. The Iranian side welcomed the investment of Indian side in setting up plants in sectors such as fertilisers, petrochemicals and metallurgy in Chabahar FTZ on terms mutually beneficial to the concerned parties. It was decided to establish a Bilateral Ministerial Task Force to guide the process to utilise mutual complementarities between India and Iran in the context of connectivity and Chabahar FTZ.

v. Both sides also noted their shared desire to develop an Information and Communication Technology Zone in Chabahar and promote cooperation between States of India and Provinces of Iran.

vi. The Indian side thanked the Iranian government for India’s ongoing participation and investment in the development of oil and gas sector in Iran. In this regard, they expressed the hope that a Heads of Agreement will be concluded by the third quarter of 2016 leading to further developments including commercial contract for Farzad B later this year.

vii. President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi agreed to strengthen the longstanding trade ties between the two countries by, inter alia, stepping up the momentum of economic engagement through early conclusion of a Preferential Trade Agreement, preferably within a year. The two leaders also directed that Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Bilateral Investment Treaty should be concluded before the end of the year. India fully supports the accession of Iran to the World Trade Organization and the ongoing consensus building efforts among WTO members to reactivate the accession process, consistent with the objective of making the Organization universal and inclusive.

viii. Recognising the key role of effective banking channels for affecting business transactions, both sides welcomed technical discussions between two central banks, hoped for an early conclusion of practical arrangements on the same.

ix. Noting the recent exchanges of business delegations between the two countries and the significance of such exchanges for promoting economic and commercial cooperation, President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi welcomed the decision of the Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) to open a regional office in Tehran. They mandated the relevant authorities to organise country-specific events for promoting trade and economic cooperation. The two sides agreed that the Iranian side could open a similar office in India.

x. From the perspective of developing better and wider understanding of each other’s vast civilisational heritage and tourism potential, President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi expressed the hope for a successful outcome of first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Tourism. They highlighted the potential of developing in particular religious tourism which can benefit from enhanced civil aviation links between the two countries.

xi. They also welcomed the prospects of developing cooperation as per mutual interest and agreement in a number of other areas, including higher education, science and technology, environment, agriculture, promoting small and medium entrepreneurs through regular interaction and institutional mechanisms, and directed relevant authorities to work out further details.

xii. Driven by mutual desire to promote Indology and Persian Studies so that the current and future of citizens of the two countries are better informed of the mutually enriching and close interaction among India and Iran, both sides welcomed a number of initiatives underway and planned in the cultural sphere. They appreciated the organisation of the event ‘India and Iran, Two Great Civilisations: Retrospect and Prospect’ in Tehran from 23-25 May 2016 jointly by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Academy of Persian Language and Literature (Farangistan).

President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi, had an in-depth exchange of views on regional and international situation. The leaders welcomed the renewal of the MoU for exchanges between the Foreign Service Institute of India and the School of International Relations of Iran, and signing of the MoU on Policy Dialogue between foreign ministries and interaction between think tanks.

The two sides reiterated their resolve to strengthen the international consensus and legal regimes against terrorism, including effective cooperation among the states in resolving the outstanding issues related the draft Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism conducive to its finalization. Government of India also supported the initiative, taken by Iran in the United Nation General Assembly in 2013, titled Word against violence and extremism (WAVE).

They also welcomed the growing interaction between their National Security Councils and agreed to enhance regular and institutionalised consultations between them and others concerned on terrorism, security and related issues such as organised crime, money-laundering, narcotics trade and cyber crime.

Noting the significance of consultation and cooperation between the two countries on common interests related to maritime trade and security in their shared neighbourhood, they welcomed the organisation of meeting of officials from Indian Ocean Rim Association countries in Chabahar on May 19-20, 2016.

They also directed that the Joint Working Group on Defence under Defence Secretaries, is convened early and recommends measures to enhance interaction in the defence sphere.

The Iranian side extended its support for India in hosting the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.