Saturday January 20, 2018
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Modi to Putin: Russia trusted friend of India in hour of need

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Moscow: India sees Russia as a reliable friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin as the 16th annual summit between the two countries got underway here on Thursday.

After exchanging greetings at the start of the talks with the Putin, Modi said India and Russia were now cooperating in the international and political arenas more actively, TASS news agency reported.

The prime minister said he saw Russia as a reliable friend that had always supported India at difficult times, adding that his country aimed to continue its strategic partnership with Russia.

Putin, on his part, said that Russia and India were consistently and confidently developing the strategic partnership.

“I am pleased to note, and I am happy to do that, that we are consistently and confidently developing the privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia,” Putin said.

The Russian president noted that the bilateral relations were developing in all directions – in international politics, economy and the humanitarian area.

He added that a number of issues required special attention, “especially in today’s challenging economic environment.”

According to Putin, Modi’s visit was very timely and would make it possible to “synchronise watches” on the main areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Modi also offered his condolences to Putin over a terrorist attack against a Russian A-321 passenger airliner in the Sinai and the downing of a Su-24 warplane over Syria saying the Indian people were mourning together with Russia.

Russian Kogalymavia Flight 9268 came down about half-an-hour after leaving the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh while on its way to St. Petersburg in a terrorist attack on October 31. All 224 people on board the plane were killed.

In another tragic development on November 24, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet brought down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, which, Ankara alleges, violated the country’s airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian defence ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory and had never violated Turkey’s airspace.

Ahead of Thursday’s talks, Modi laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located by the Kremlin wall in the Alexandrovsky Garden.

Earlier in the day, Modi visited Russia’s National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), also known as EMERCOM, in Moscow and was given a rundown on how its works.

Modi and Putin are scheduled to meet a delegation of Indian and Russian CEOs in the Kremlin.

Modi will address a gathering of Friends of India and also meet members of the Indian community in Russia.

Modi arrived in Moscow on Wednesday and was hosted for a private dinner by President Putin.

(With inputs from agencies)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.