In what was arguably the most important foreign visit of the year for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he signed a dozen deals with Iran. Emerging from decades of sanctions, Iran could soon be the most happening place for trade in the near future. Modi signed deals covering exchange visits by think tanks to a trilateral agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran for a trade treaty to develop the Chabahar port. It is Iran´s only port on the Indian Ocean, and once developed, it will allow India to access Central Asia directly - skipping Pakistan.
Union Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, who accompanied the prime minister on his two-day trip, explained the importance of the Chabahar deal. ´The distance between Kandla (in the Kutch district of Gujarat) and the Chabahar port is less than the distance between New Delhi and Mumbai,´ he said. ´This agreement enables us quick movement of goods first to Iran and then onwards to Afghanistan and Russia through a new rail and road link.´