Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha

Erika Holt
March 14, 2018

Pakistan's envoy positioned in India continue to be harassed as another incident surfaced on Tuesday when a vehicle carrying a diplomat was intercepted in Indian capital.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the Iran-Pakistan Business Forum on Tuesday. To underline this, he pointed to Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran's single major foreign policy irritant in its neighbourhood.

Yestrday, Zarif had said that Iran has offered China and Pakistan to participate in the Chahbahar seaport project.

'Iran is a very important neighbor of Pakistan, and Pakistan and Iran have always enjoyed very good relations; and we are trying now to strengthen that relationship through [not only] trade [and] economic relationship but also at the political leadership level, ' Maleeha Lodhi told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

"Although the visit of the Iranian foreign minister will have a remarkable impact on expansion of trade and economic ties, in my opinion the visit will mostly focus on evaluating the current state of the region and clearing up misunderstandings on regional and global issues", she stressed.

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Zarif sought to allay Pakistan's concerns about India's involvement in Chabahar by saying that the port project was not meant to "encircle Pakistan" or "strangulate anybody".

Gwadar is a key part of the multi-billion dollar CPEC, a flagship project of China's Belt and Road Initiative that has been opposed by India as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. In November 2017, India successfully delivered an aid shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.

"We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that, " he added.

"Iran is always ready to help Pakistan meet its electricity demand to a great extent", he said, while recalling the number of advantages his country offered for Pakistan's economy and businessmnen. After years of trying to make the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline a reality, Iran and India had given up on Pakistan.

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