Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recently concluded two-day visit to Iran ended by signing a raft of agreements, including two key deals that will likely enable him to circumvent Pakistan — thereby establishing a crucial economic and strategic pathway toward the rest of the world.
The most noteworthy of the 12 agreements signed between Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is India’s investment of $500 million into developing Iran’s Chabahar port, considered an important entrepôt leading to Afghanistan and onward to Central Asia. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also later joined the two leaders to sign a trilateral transit agreement that will significantly ease the passage of goods between the three countries and boost trade.
“The main significance is the explicit connection of this project to Afghanistan’s future economy and stability. In that sense, the presence of Afghan President Ghani in Tehran was very important,” Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow for foreign policy at Brookings India, told TIME magazine, adding that the political importance being given to the Chabahar project makes it clear that it is “not just any commercial deal.”
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The views are those of the author. Brookings Institution India Center does not hold any institutional views.