India, Iran sign connectivity, double taxation avoidance agreements
New Delhi : India and Iran on Saturday signed nine agreements, including on connectivity and double taxation avoidance, following delegation-level talks led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani here.
A lease contract was signed between Port and Maritime Organisation (PMO), Iran, and India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) that envisages IPGL taking over operations of a part of the area of the multipurpose and container terminal of the strategic Chabahar port in Iran for a period of 18 months.
During Modi's visit to Tehran in 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement to jointly develop the Chabahar port to boost connectivity to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.
According to a joint statement issued following the talks, with a view to fully utilise the potential of the Chabahar port and its connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia, India conveyed its readiness to support the development of Chabahar- Zahedan Rail line.
"IRCON, India, and CDTIC, Iran, who are engaged in discussions, were tasked to finalise the technical parameters and financing options for the project in a time bound manner," the statement said.
"Both leaders encouraged greater efforts for cooperation in railway sector including supply of steel rails, turnouts and locomotives."
The two sides also reiterated their commitment to the International North- South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and stressed on the need for inclusion of Chabahar within its framework.
"It was noted that Iran will hold an early meeting of the INSTC Coordination Meeting in Tehran. India's accession to TIR Convention and Ashgabat Agreement was welcomed as additional steps at enhancing regional connectivity and linking regional centres of economic growth," the statement said.
In June last year, India became the 71st country to ratify the UN Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) or International Road Transport Convention.
Earlier this month, India was admitted to the Ashgabat Agreement which seeks to establish an international transport and transit corridor between Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
India and Iran also signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation to promote flow of investment and services between the two countries.
According to the joint statement, the two sides agreed to undertake text-based negotiations on preferential trade agreement as well as conclusion of a bilateral investment treaty in a fixed time frame.
An extradition agreement signed by the two countries in 2008 also came into effect following the exchange of instrument of ratification on Saturday.
Six other memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed including on cooperation in the areas of health, traditional systems of medicine, and agriculture and allied sectors, and establishment of an expert group on trade remedy measures.