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Iran, India to hold meeting on access to landlocked Afghanistan

Source: Mehr News Agency

India, Iran and Afghanistan will hold talks on giving India greater access to landlocked Afghanistan, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said on Saturday.

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The three countries will meet Sunday to discuss how best to use the southeastern Iranian port of Chahbahar and develop road and rail links from there to Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal quoted Mathai as telling reporters.

India has been one of the largest contributors of development aid to Afghanistan. Over the past decade, it has spent more than $2 billion to help build infrastructure, including roads, power projects and hospitals.

For India the shortest and most economical route for sending supplies to Afghanistan would be by road through Pakistan, but its decades-long rival has denied New Delhi road access to Kabul, making the route through Iran all the more significant.

Iran also hopes to develop an industrial zone near Chahbahar and wants to attract foreign investment to set up industries there, Mathai said.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will be in Tehran to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit, is to meet with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the WSJ reported.

... Payvand News - 08/26/12 ... --

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