India and Iran have agreed to forge closer ties with the goal of restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan the two countries announced today. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks in New Delhi this week.
The two countries announced they will increase cooperation in areas such as terrorism and drug trafficking. They also agreed take steps to develop energy security and regional connectivity to Afghanistan, a landlocked country, through infrastructure projects like road and rail routes, and developing Iran’s Chabahar Port. Iran borders Afghanistan directly to the west.
“We both will work for restoring peace, stability, prosperity and a pluralistic system in Afghanistan,” Modi said. Iran and India “are prepared for joint ventures in gas and petroleum sectors,” said Rouhani.
President Trump heavily criticized Pakistan, Afghanistan’s eastern-neighbor and close ally, earlier this year for not doing enough to combat extremism in Afghanistan, a development that Pakistani-rival India may have seen as a strategic opening. The U.S. and Iran also have a strained relationship, however, in the face of U.S. demands that a nuclear deal signed between the Obama administration, Iran and several other allies be re-negotiated – a dynamic India, an increasingly close U.S. ally will have to navigate.
India and Iran signed several agreements today including an agreement to avoid double taxation one that will implement an extradition treaty signed in 2008. Another treaty being discussed would allow for increased sharing of technical and scientific knowledge, as well as human resources.
Rouhani’s three-day visit to the Indian capital ended today.