New Delhi, Jan. 25: India today said it has not taken a final decision on the transfer of Iranian gas to the country — indicating clearly that the option of involving Pakistan in the proposed gas pipeline was not closed.
With Iran rallying behind India, Delhi also managed to send out a loud and clear signal to Islamabad that no deal was possible till it gave up hostility towards India.
“The combat against international terrorism should not be based upon double standards. States that aid, abet, and directly support international terrorism should be condemned,” said the Delhi Declaration Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee signed with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.
The declaration came after a series of meetings between the two sides. They included delegation-level talks as well as a one-to-one meeting between Vajpayee and Khatami when bilateral, regional and international developments of mutual interest were discussed.
A banquet was hosted later in the evening by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for Khatami, who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations tomorrow.
India and Iran, indicating their desire to extend their strong political ties to the economic field, signed another important document — a roadmap of strategic cooperation. The agreement indicates the two countries’ efforts to link India to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Europe through Iran.
This linking would involve boosting non-oil trade and investment in infrastructure projects, including the Chahbahar port complex and Chahbahar-Faharaj-Bam railway link on which discussions between India and Iran are going on.
A marine oil tanking terminal at an agreed location and Iranian investment and participation in infrastructure projects in India were also discussed.
The two countries indicated their cooperation in energy was not limited to the gas pipeline but extended far beyond. “Iran has gas and India needs it. In the middle, there are some obstacles. But we want to resolve them through discussions and arrive at a decision acceptable and beneficial to both,” Vajpayee said.