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India, Iran ink New Delhi Declaration
January 25, 2003 22:27 IST
India and Iran on Saturday signed seven accords, including a landmark New Delhi Declaration.
Bottlenecks persisted on the Iranian proposal for a gas pipeline to India through Pakistan with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying that Tehran and New Delhi will have to work out ‘mutually acceptable, secure and stable arrangements for transfer of gas'.
The Delhi Declaration, signed by Vajpayee and Iranian President Syed Mohammed Khatami, said the two sides agreed that ‘the combat against international terrorism should not be based on double standards. States that aid, abet and directly support international terrorism should be condemned'.
The EXIM bank and a consortium of seven Iranian banks signed a framework to operationalise a $200 million line of credit by India to
Addressing a joint press conference after their one-to-one and delegation-level talks, Vajpayee said ‘there are some obstacles in between' on the gas pipeline project and that the two sides were trying to resolve them.
"We want to resolve it in such a manner that both sides are satisfied… and for the future it is a good agreement," he said.
The prime minister said India wanted liquefied nitrogen gas from Iran and hoped that the price would be decided soon.
The declaration said in the field of oil and gas, the two sides would formulate a joint mechanism to promote cooperation.
Khatami said the memorandum of understanding outlining a roadmap for strategic cooperation covered all fields and that interests of both sides would be taken care of.
In an apparent reference to US build up in the Gulf for possible military action against Iraq, he said Iran was opposed to ‘hegemony and unilateralism'.
India and Iran agreed that the Iraq crisis should be resolved peacefully under the UN auspices.
While reaffirming their commitment for a united and sovereign Afghanistan, Khatami warned that there could be ‘problem emerging again' if the people there feel that the war-hit country was being ‘used as an excuse' by international community for its own interests.
The two sides called on the international community to remain committed towards speedy reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.
Vajpayee said the threat to global and regional security from terrorism was discussed with Khatami. "We agreed to widen our cooperation against terrorism in bilateral and multilateral fora. We will work to strengthen the international legal regime against terrorism."
The two countries resolved to work for an early finalisation of a Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism at the UN, an initiative spearheaded by New Delhi.
The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to commence multilateral negotiations for nuclear disarmament under effective international control.
In a significant step, the two countries agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in defence, including training and exchange of visits.
The agreements included cooperation in science and technology, roadmap for strategic cooperation, vocational training, urban water management and cultural exchange programme.
Political dialogue and modalities of cooperation on issues of strategic significance would be promoted through the mechanisms of strategic dialogue, foreign office consultations and the institutional interaction between the national security councils of the two countries.
Vajpayee said it was agreed that the two countries should focus on a diversification of the trade basket.
He said the joint India-Iran initiative to develop the Chahbahar port in Iran and to link it by road to Afghanistan commenced a welcome trend of investment in infrastructure development.
Khatami made it clear that the strategic cooperation between India and Iran would not harm the interest of any third country.
The prime minister accepted Khatami's invitation to visit Iran.