Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are rich in energy resources and so very important for India to meet its ever increasing demand of energy. It has been a real trick for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that both the rival Islamic nations are engaged with India in positive way.
Prime Minister Modi's diplomacy has been tested amply by these two countries. It was with the help of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that PM's diplomacy has won over both the rival nations.
Susha Swaraj who was in Iran held bilateral talks with her counter part Javad Zarif in Tehran and also an expert group in New Delhi and thus finlaised the agreement relating to transport and transit corridors to link Port Chabahar in Iran with Afghanistan.
External Affairs Ministry statement after the second meeting of experts from India, Afghanistan and Iran mentioned that, "When the Agreement comes into force it will significantly enhance utilization of Chabahar Port, contribute to economic growth of Afghanistan, and facilitate better regional connectivity, including between India and connections to Afghanistan and Central Asia".
It is said that China and Pakistan's Economic Corridor thanks to Gwadar Port in Pakistan has got a reply in Chabahar Port Agreement. This strategic move of India will ensure greater flow of people and goods among the three countries.
Mrs. Swaraj also talked with her Iranian counterpart about constructing a railway line between the port and Iranian city of Zahidan which borders Pakistan. Irani President Hassan Rouhani described Chabahar Port as a defining partnership with a potential of connecting the entire region. President also stated that Iran can be India's reliable energy partner.
Iran is considered as one of the world's hottest investment destinations after opening up various critical sectors including oil and gas for joint ventures and foreign capital. India also expressed its keenness to increase oil imports from Iran from current 350,000 barrels a day.
Ties with Saudi Arabia:
Saudi Arabia is the largest oil supplier for India. The country supplied supplied 34.49 million tons of crude oil last year. On the other hand Iran also holds the fourth largest proven reserves of crude oil after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada. Iran too has huge deposits of natural gas.
India and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed warm and friendly ties since centuries. Relations between the two nations has grown the stronger during the recent times. Economic and trade relations, investment and joint ventures, educational ties and all other fields have received an increased impetus.
PM Modi's recent visit to Saudi Arabia came at a time when there is high level of disturbances in the Middle East. India boosted its robust bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia during Mr. Modi's visit.
Both the nations also agreed to focus on the security and be strict about the terror financing and radicalisation activities. There is a growing concern regarding Islamic State using troubled area on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan to make its base for attacking Indian territories. For this reason it is important for India to have great ties with Saudi Arabia with regards to intelligence and security cooperation specially cybersecurity.
Ties crucial but focus Swaraj's head scarf:
As it is a norm in India while Sushma Swaraj was in Iran cementing ties with Iran, back in India the focus was on the head scarf that Mrs. Swaraj used to cover her head as she met President of Iran Hassan Rouhani. The importance of the ties being forged was completely missed and the attire took centre stage.
However, some on Twitter responded to the trolls and came out strongly in defence of the External Affairs Minister.
Tamasha over @SushmaSwaraj dress in Iran shows how juvenile our discourse has become. Perfectly fine respecting local culture, sensitivities— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) April 18, 2016
I don't see there is any problem with Sushma Swaraj covering her head - by choice - in sync with local culture. It is HER choice.— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) April 18, 2016
Well this is the tweeet that had many comment for and against Mrs. Swaraj's head scarf.
With HE President Hassan Rouhani. pic.twitter.com/Rhbk0iqLgK— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 17, 2016