Iran backs Kashmir cause while telling Pakistan to join Chabahar project
Iran has invited Pakistan and China to participate in the development of the Chabahar port and also extended support to the right to self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, Foreign minister, Javad Zarif who is on a three-day visit to Islamabad asked Pakistan to play a role in developing the port.
"We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chabahar," he said.
Following the meeting, Pakistan's Foreign Office in a statement said both sides had "reiterated support for the peaceful struggle of the peoples of Palestine and Kashmir for their right to self-determination".
During his meeting with Zarif, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi thanked the Iranian leadership for its "steadfast support" to the struggle of the Kashmiris.
The development comes in the backdrop of India and Iran inking an agreement to lease operation control of a part of the port to New Delhi for 18 months. India would commence operations with borrowed Iranian equipment by May. The port is crucial for India as it plans on creating a trade and transport corridor to Afghanistan while bypassing Pakistan.
Zarif said, "our relations with India, just like Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Pakistan as we understand Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran."
Zarif also raised the issue of cooperation between Chabahar and Gwadar ports during his meetings with foreign minister Asif and National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua. During his meeting with Janjua on Tuesday, Zarif talked about "tapping into the potential of Gwadar and Chabahar ports" to boost economic cooperation, according to a statement from Iran's foreign ministry.