“India looks to Iran as its gates to Afghanistan and Central Asia,” wrote Mohsen Jalalpour, chairman of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture, in the Iran newspaper May 23. According to Jalalpour, India’s transportation costs to Afghanistan and Central Asia would be reduced by 30%. The Chabahar port also would be beneficial to India because it would put that country in a position to compete with China’s investments in Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
Jalalpour wrote that in the short term, the transit agreement would decrease the costs of Iran’s exports to Central Asia, and in the long term the Chabahar port could compete with the ports in the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.
After the signing of the agreement, Rouhani told reporters that May 23 was an “important and historical day” for relations between the three countries. He said the agreement was a message to other countries in the region that the “path to progress in the region is with cooperation and using regional opportunities.” Rouhani added that the door is open for other countries to sign on to the trilateral agreement in the future.
The second focus of Modi’s trip to India would be energy, according to Jalalpour. He believes that with an economy growing at 7% and a population of 1.2 billion, “Iran has the potential to provide a large part of [India’s] energy needs.” At the moment Iran exports 400,000 barrels of oil a day to India, but with India’s investments in Iran’s energy sector, this number will increase, wrote Jalalpour.