Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha

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Pakistan wants India to sign a protocol which, it says, will allow both sides to carry out construction work smoothly. In a new low for ties, India-Pakistan relations are now caught in a vicious cycle of reprisals which was initiated because of, as Indian authorities say, a raid on a residential complex for Indian diplomats by ISI in Islamabad. "Our relations with India, just like Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Islamabad as we understand Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran", the Iranian foreign minister said.


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


Zarif asked Pakistan to take a role in developing the port in the Gulf of Oman while speaking on Monday at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, a think tank backed by Pakistan's foreign ministry.


Iran has invited Pakistan and China to participate in the strategic Chabahar Port and said the initiative is not aimed at "strangulating" or "encircling" anybody, a media report, on Tuesday, quoted visiting Iranian foreign minister as saying. The Iranian minister also, meanwhile, extended the invitation to China. Iran's invitation to Pakistan to help develop its Chabahar seaport project brings good tidings and may be the most pivotal yet in terms of further strengthening this relationship. The move would likely put pressure on the Pakistani policy making apparatus, since it would have to weigh involvement in a project that would make it part of a corridor that undercuts its geographical advantage and offers to cut down on India's strategic advantage, against the setback it could deal to its own ambitions over the nearby Gwadar Port. Iran's handing of the port's operational control to India was disappointing for Pakistan and taking part in Chabahar may engender problems moving forward. The Chabahar Port, which was developed jointly by India and Iran, was aimed at linking the two countries without having to rely on Pakistan.

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