Speaking to IRNA, Priyanka Tikoo, who is the chief editor and the Delhi bureau chief of India's official news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), dwelt on the new phase of surging economic ventures between the two countries following Iran's President Hassan Rouhani recent visit to India which ended in exchange of 15 cooperation agreements.
Stressing that national interests guide India's ties with all nations in the world, she said no big powers, even the US, can stop India's investment in Iran's southeastern port of Chabahar.
She noted, "India's position on its relations with any country is very clear that it would be driven by its national interests. By taking part in the Chabahar Port development pact, which is also reflective of its growing convergence with Iran and Afghanistan, India has shown its abiding by the commitment to India-Iran ties. Indian investment in Chabahar Port, which is a symbol of Indo-Iranian economic and strategic cooperation, cannot be stopped by any external pressure from a third country, including the US."
On India's expectations from the visit, the senior analyst of world affairs said, "The main expectation of India would be to strengthen bilateral ties in the key strategic areas of security, trade and energy. There was an expectation in India for a breakthrough on the deal for Iran's giant Farzad-B gas field during President Rouhani's maiden visit to India. Also, the visit provided an opportunity to 'clear the air' between the two sides on the apparent impression that India has gone slow on its trade ties with Iran after the Trump administration has indicated to review the Iranian nuclear deal and re-impose the sanctions on the country."
Elaborating on Iran's significant role in India's access to the Central Asia and beyond, she said, "India's access to the Central Asia has always been impacted by the absence of viable overland transit routes, denied by a hostile neighbor and also a competitor to its east that is China, which share boundaries with India.
"With the strategically-important Chabahar Port becoming operational, India may be able to begin to compete with China and bypass Pakistan.The transit access through a friendly Iran will immensely boost India's economic prospects in the region, which is witnessing increasing economic influence of China. Some top foreign policy experts also maintain that the Chabahar Port will be a game-changer in Indo-Iran ties given that it will increase tremendously the significance of Tehran for New Delhi in reaching out to Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond."
Calling upon India and Iran to strengthen cooperation in the fight against extremism and terrorism in the region, Tikoo said, "Given the very fragile security situation in the region, both Iran and India need to cooperate to counter terrorism. Both India and Iran share their borders with regions which are seen as hotbeds of terrorism. Having a common threat can also push India and Iran to work together to combat terrorism and strengthen security ties.
"The fact that among many threats to peace and development, none has become as dangerous as terrorism, which has links to extremism, drug trafficking and illegal arms smuggling, the two countries need to have a robust security cooperation mechanism."