TEHRAN (Press TV) - India and Afghanistan have signaled their commitment to the development of Iran’s strategic Chabahar port ahead of a Thursday meeting with the U.S. which is pushing for economic strangulation of Tehran.
Afghan deputy minister for foreign affairs Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi met in New Delhi Tuesday to discuss a whole gamut of issues related to the project.
"The meeting focused on consolidating economic cooperation, including Chabahar,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.
They also discussed enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and continuing support to the peace and reconciliation process that is led and owned by Afghanistan, it added.
Their meeting came ahead of the first ever "2+2” talks between Indian and U.S. foreign and defense ministers in New Delhi on Thursday to discuss issues of strategic and security interest.
Indian officials have said in their talks with the Americans, they would emphasize the importance of Chabahar to economically stabilize Afghanistan. They expect Kabul also to press Washington on giving a waiver to develop Chabahar.
On Monday, a U.S. official said no decision had been made yet on extending exemptions to India for a carve-out in Chabahar.
India hopes to utilize Iran’s transit potentials to embolden its connectivity footprints, with Chabahar being the stepping stone to those ambitions.
For India, the Iranian port is key to access Afghanistan as well as the landlocked Central Asia, the Caucasus and Russia.
In February, Iran signed an agreement to lease the operational control of phase one of Chabahar port to India for 18 months.