New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi affirmed India's continued commitment to developing strong and friendly relations with Iran and thanked Iranian leadership for the progress in the Chabahar project.

The Prime Minister made the remarks during his meeting with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, who is in India for the Raisina Dialogue 2020.

Zarif, who called on the Prime Minister, shared his perspectives on the recent developments in the region. The Prime Minister mentioned India's strong interest in peace, security and stability in the region.

Tensions escalated between Iran and the US following the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq earlier this month. Iran had carried fired ballistic missiles on airbases housing US forces in Iraq in retaliation.

Welcoming the Iranian foreign minister, Modi recalled his warm and cordial discussions with President Rouhani in September 2019 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

According to a PMO release, the Prime Minister reiterated India's continued commitment to developing her strong and friendly relations with Iran.

"He thanked Iranian leadership for the progress in the Chabahar project, including designating it as a Special Economic Zone," the release said. 

Importance of Chabahar Port

One of the most important aspects of this project is that India can by-pass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan. Further, it would also boost India's access to Iran, a key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has rail, road as well as sea routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.

Through this project, India becomes a military ally to Iran, and the port could be used in case China decides to flex its muscles on the sea by stationing its ships at the Gwadar port. There would be a boost in the import of iron ore, rice and sugar to India. Even the import cost of oil would come down considerably.