Obama to meet India's PM Modi

The White House. FILE AP

The release said the India-US bilateral strategic partnership had developed strongly, particularly during the last two years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and President Obama.

Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Iran visit starting May 22 will be a litmus test not only for India's desire to establish global influence but also its balancing act in regional politics. It will be the highest-level visit from India to the Gulf state since the visit of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Doha in 2008.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to travel to Chabahar in a few days to sign the agreement.

The frequent parleys, which began before the West reached a deal with Iran to lift the nuclear-related sanctions, were aimed at signalling a willingness to revive a relationship that had suffered under the weight of American sanctions.

Indian strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney has welcomed the Indo-Japan partnership on developing the Chabahar port and industrial complex, saying that it will be a win-win initiative for all the three parties (New Delhi, Tokyo and Tehran).

He will also be having an interaction with CEOs of major US companies under the aegis of the US-India Business Council.

Talks to build the Chabahar port have been on for years but since the scaling back of Western sanctions against Iran, India has pushed hard for the project so it doesn't lose out to other such as China, who are keen to invest. It will connect India not only with Afghanistan and Central Asia but also beyond to Europe through the North South Transport Corridor (NSTC).

"Prime Minister will thus impart a timely impetus to the ongoing efforts to bilateral cooperation and mutually benefit from new opportunities from lifting of sanctions against Iran", he added.

Modi will visit Qatar on his way to the US. Discussions have moved towards commercial conclusion and financial closure, according to officials familiar with the development.

"Thereafter, the trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor among India, Afghanistan and Iran will be signed at a separate event", Baglay said.

Modi's visit is also expected to see progress on New Delhi's proposal for allowing ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) to develop the Farzad B gas field in Iran.

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