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The Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Iran "The New Delhi Declaration"

January 25, 2003

President Mohammad Khatami's Visit to India 24-28 January 2003 New Delhi


The Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Iran "The New Delhi Declaration" 25 January, 2003

Vision of a strategic Partnership for a more stable, secure and prosperous region and for enhanced regional and global cooperation

The Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Iran:

Conscious of the vast potential in the political, economic, transit, transport, energy, industries, science and technology and agricultural fields and of the benefits of cooperative endeavour,

Determined to build a strong, modern, contemporary and cooperative relationship that draws upon their historical and age-old cultural ties,the advantage ofgeographical proximity, and that responds to the needs of an inter-dependent world of the 21st Century,

Aware that their strengthened bilateral relations also contribute to regional cooperation, peace, prosperity and stability,

Recalling and reaffirming the Tehran Declaration issued on April 10, 2001 jointly by H.E. Shri A.B. Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India and H.E.Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republicof Iran, which resulted in further strengthening of dialogue aimed at strategic cooperation.

Declare as follows:

  • International developments since the adoption of the Tehran Declaration have reinforced their faith in and reconfirmed the values of pluralism,diversity and tolrance within and between societies.
  • International peace and stability, harmony between different religions,ethnic and linguistic groups, cultures and social systems can best be promoted through dialogue and acceptance of the right to ones’ own beliefs and values expressed and exercised without injury or slight to those of others and without a desire to impose them on others. In this context, they positively assessed the contribution made by the concept of Dialogue Among Civilizations to address discord and differences in international relations.
  • They evaluate positively the consolidation of Indo-Iranian bilateral relations since the Tehran Declaration. Meetings of the Joint Commission, the Strategic Dialogue, interaction between the Security Councils of the two countries, discussions on energy and security, and cooperation based on existing complementarities and diverse possibilities, including supplies, exploration, investment, exchange of technical expertise, and other interaction at government and private sector levels have all contributed to deepening of mutual understanding and confidence, which has provided, in turn, the basis for further consolidation.
  • The two sides welcome the fresh impetus given to Science and Technology cooperation as also to cooperation in education and training since last year. They also note the potential of technologies, such as IT, to improve the lives of people in developing societies and agree to promote cooperation efforts to exploit this potential. They agree to promote fuller utilization of available capabilities for human resource development.
  • The two sides affirm that their growing strategic convergence needs to be underpinned with a strong economic relationship, including greater trade and investment flows. The Ministerial-level Joint Commission, the Joint Business Council and economic and commercial agreements signed recently in this regard will play a critical role in this regard. They exhort the entrepreneurs in both countries to harness each other’s strengths for mutual benefit and promote the process of economic rapprochement actively, including through expert studies on trade and investment facilitation, holding of exhibitions and seminars, promotion of business travel, and joint ventures.
  • They note that the enabling legislations to promote vigorous trade and economic exchanges are primary requirements to promote business confidence between the entrepreneurs of the two countries. Many arrangements have already been concluded in this field. To consolidate the bilateral business environment further, they agree on the need to undertake expeditious negotiations, inter alia, for the conclusion of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and MoU on Energy Cooperation.
  • India and Iran have a complementarity of interests in the energy sector which should develop as a strategic area of their future relationship. Iran with its abundant energy resources and India with its growing energy needs as a rapidly developing economy are natural partners. The areas of cooperation in this sector include investment in upstream and downstream activities in the oil sector, LNG/natural gas tie-ups and secure modes of transport.
  • They also decided to explore opportunities for cooperation in defence in agreed areas, including training and exchange of visits.
  • They agreed to explore mechanisms to preserve and maintain the common cultural heritage, rooted in history, of the two countries. As part of efforts dedicated to preservation of this heritage, they agreed to release a commemorative postage stamp.
  • Terrorism continues to pose serious a threat to nation States and international peace and security and should be eradicated. States that aid, abet and directly support international terrorism should be condemned. The international community should intensify its efforts to combat the menace of terrorism. They reiterate their resolve to strengthen the international consensus and legal regimes against terrorism, including early finalization of a Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism. They agree that the combat against international terrorism should not be selective or based on double standards. Iran and India agree to continue joint cooperation to address the issues of international terrorism and trafficking in narcotic and psychotropic substances.
  • Both sides stressed that the interests of peace and stability in the region are best served by a strong, united, prosperous and independent Afghanistan. They assess highly the past and continuing cooperation between India and Iran in support of a united, sovereign and independent Afghanistan. They urge the international community to remain committed on long-term basis to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, to controlling re-emergence of terrorist forces, and spread of narcotics from Afghanistan. They agree that stability of Afghanistan is vital for the stability of the region. The recent trilateral agreement between the Governments of India, Iran and Afghanistan to develop the Chahbahar route through Melak, Zaranj and Delaram would facilitate regional trade and transit, including to Afghanistan and Central Asia, contributing thus to enhanced regional economic prosperity.
  • The two sides note with satisfaction the operationalisation of the North South transit arrangement and the growing interest among other States in the region to participate in it. They reaffirm their commitment to develop the full potential of the North South arrangement, its infrastructure, desired certification and customs harmonization, expert studies and regular evaluation to aid its growth.
  • India and Iran support efforts to resolve the situation relating to Iraq peacefully through political and diplomatic means under the auspices of the United Nations.
  • The two sides reiterated their commitment to commence multi-lateral negotiations for nuclear disarmament under effective international control. They expressed their concern about restrictions imposed on the export of materials, technology and equipment to developing countries and acknowledged the right of these countries to research, production and use of technology, material and equipment for peaceful purposes.
  • The two countries are resolved to exploit the full potential of the bilateral relationship in the interest of the people of the two countries and of regional peace and stability, and recognizing that the 21st Century holds unbound promises of welfare and progress through peaceful application of science and technology, promoting knowledge based societies, and tackling fundamental problems such as disease, hunger and environmental degradation.
  • They directed that a time bound framework be worked out in agreed areas of cooperation, through the existing mechanisms of Joint Commission and Joint Working Groups, so that a firm and substantial economic and political underpinning would be provided for a strategic and long-term orientation to the bilateral relationship.

Signed on the 25th Day of January 2003 at New Delhi in two originals, each in Hindi, Persian and English languages.

Prime Minister Republic of India President Islamic Republic of Iran


Joint Press Interaction Of H.E. Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, The President Of Islamic Republic Of Iran, And Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, The Prime Minister Of India

SHRI ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE: Friends, it is a great pleasure to have President Khatami and his Delegation here with us in India. We specially value his presence as the Chief Guest at our Republic Day Celebrations.

His visit reflects the importance both our countries attach to the consolidation, expansion and diversification of our bilateral relations. Our bilateral relations have strong historical and cultural roots and there is a specific potential in our common search for equitable globalisation and a multi-polar world order.

Our discussions today covered a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern. The New Delhi Declaration and the Road Map to Strategic Cooperation, which we have just signed, indicate our commitment to establish a target-oriented framework to progress mutually identified objectives to our bilateral relations.

We agreed that the energy sector would develop into an important area of multi-faceted cooperation. There is a natural partnership between Iran’s abundant energy resources and India’s growing energy needs. We have to work out a mutually acceptable, secure and stable arrangement for transfer of gas. We have also agreed to broaden our cooperation beyond the mere buyer-seller relationship by exploiting investment opportunities in upstream and downstream projects in this sector. Several projects are already under discussion.

The recent award by Iran of the Pharsi Oil exploration block to an Indian consortium marks a good start.

The convergences between India and Iran also need to be more fully reflected in our other economic exchanges.

President Khatami and I have agreed that India and Iran should focus on diversification of our trade basket, activisation of the existing 200 million dollar line of credit that would provide many new opportunities to our business communities.

The Joint India-Iran Initiative to develop the Chahbahar Port in Iran and to link it by road to Afghanistan commences a welcome new trend of investment in infrastructure development.

India and Iran have cooperated closely on Afghanistan, especially in the shared objective of ridding that country of the evil Taleban forces. We agreed that our joint effort should now be to promote strong construction and rehabilitation work in that country including through development of alternate trade routes to Afghanistan through Iran as well as by undertaking a joint rail and road reconstruction project.

President Khatami and I discussed the threat to global and regional security from terrorism. We agreed to widen our cooperation against terrorism in bilateral and multi-lateral fora. We will work to strengthen the international legal regime against terrorism.

President Khatami has invited me to visit Iran. I have accepted the invitation with pleasure.}

Thank you.

H.E. SAYYED MOHAMMED KHATAMI: In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful!

Tomorrow is the national day of India, the day when the new history of India starts. The newly established democracy and the republic of India give a new picture to our region. On the national day of India the spirit of the great nation of India, the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi becomes manifest.

Mahatma Gandhi is the manifestation of peace and compassion at the time of prevalence of violence, war, terrorism and tyranny. Even against the enemies he adopted the same approach and he used peace and compassion and nonviolent methods in order to force out the enemy from the country. The message of Gandhi and the great nation of India is freedom, independence, peace, compassion and coexistence.

We have also started the new stage of our history by the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Our Islamic Revolution in Iran, contrary to other revolutions, did not rely on weapons. Our Revolution was the revolution of rhetoric, the revolution of guidance and peace. We are doing our best in the light of this revolution and despite all the problems that we face to present a new image of democracy. We wish to see peace and security all around the world. The greatest message that I have during my visit to India, to the nation of India is the message of peace and also rejection of hegemony and also unilateralism.

The two great nations of Iran and India relying on their historical cooperation are once again next to each other and they will continue their cooperation on Afghanistan. In order to be able to assume our true historical position at the international level we should once again become strong. This cooperation and this strength is not in order to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries to suppress people or to be tyrants. Rather, we want to defend peace, coexistence, security and stability.

The basis and the pillars of power in today’s world are founded by science and technology and strong economy. Therefore, the major fields of cooperation between Iran and India would be in economic, scientific and technological fields. We wish to become strong in order to be able to proceed with the principle of dialogue among civilizations to reject both violence and terrorism and to promote peace and coexistence.

I have had a fruitful discussion with my counterpart Mr. Vajpayee. My Delegation has had good discussions with their counterparts in a very sincere and friendly environment. I hope that this visit of mine to India would be a blessing for both countries – the Islamic Republic of Iran and India. I would be expecting with happiness and pleasure to receive Mr. Vajpayee once again in Iran.

Thank you.

QUESTION (IRANIAN MEDIA): My question is addressed to Prime Minister Vajpayee.
You visited Iran and our President is in India now. Both of you have had discussions. In the energy sector, did you both discuss the issue of gas pipeline? If you did, what stage has it reached now? What decision has been taken with regard to the investment that is required to be made in this project?
SHRI ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE: The discussion took place in a friendly environment. We tried to understand the viewpoint of each other. Iran has gas: we need gas. But there are some hurdles in the way. We are trying to remove those hurdles. Discussion is on. We wish to resolve this in a way which makes both the countries happy, meets the needs of both the countries, and results in a good agreement for the future also. I am confident that we will be successful in this. As to the cost of this pipeline, in that regard also discussions are going on and I am confident that that also will be decided early.

QUESTION (INDIAN MEDIA): My question is addressed to the Iranian President.
Mr. President, today you have announced the Road Map to Strategic Cooperation between the two countries. Could you tell us the essential elements of that strategic cooperation, particularly in the context of the new roads, transport links, that you are building through Iran that will link India through Afghanistan Central Asia?
You also talked about a North-South Corridor which connects India to Europe through Iran. How do you assess the significance and impact of this cooperation for regional economy and politics in the coming years?
H.E. SAYYED MOHAMMED KHATAMI: The document signed between the two countries under the name of Road Map to Strategic Cooperation is indicative of the resolve of the two countries to expand their relationship in all fields and to make it sustainable. It covers all fields. Of course, the interests of both sides should be well taken care of our cooperation. Such cooperation would not be against the interest of any third country. Rather, it would be in the field of cooperation between the two countries of India and Iran in order to accelerate cooperation in achieving progress and development in all fields.

We welcome the presence of India in the economic, scientific and cultural fields in Middle East and Central Asia. We are not only ready to secure the transit presence of India in Middle East, Central Asia and Europe through Iran, but also we are ready and we have had discussions in order to have cooperation together for our presence in the third countries.
The North-South Corridor in which India, Iran and Russia play a pivotal role could be quite important for promoting peace and security in the region as also trade and economic development. India has very good programmes to implement in Chahbahar. We hope that we would be able to finalise our agreement in linking India to Chahbahar and through Chahbahar to the National Iranian Rail Road, and this would enable India to be connected to Central Asia and Europe.

Cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and India in the reconstruction of Afghanistan is also quite important for promoting peace and stability in the region and bringing about progress and development. Not only the interests of the two countries would be in the rapid development of Afghanistan but also peace and stability of the whole region would rely on it. What is important is the will and resolve of the two countries and the two nations to deepen such relationship and cooperation. I am sure that through the various programmes that we have before us, such a resolve and will would be well shown and would well become manifest.

QUESTION (IRANIAN MEDIA): My question is both to Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Khatami. I am from the IOIB of Iran. Since the visit of H.E. Mr. Vajpayee to Iran there have been discussions on the strategic cooperation between the two countries and today we see that the Road Map to Strategic Cooperation document has been signed between the two countries. I want to know what new developments have taken place in order to strengthen such a strategic cooperation between the two countries. My question is specially addressed to H.E. Mr. Vajpayee.
SHRI ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE: As I mentioned in my preliminary remarks, the road map has been drawn. It is a long-term measure and its significance will come out after some time. Looking at the situation in the region and all over the world, Iran and India have come closer to cooperate with each other and work for stability and peace in this region.

QUESTION (INDIAN MEDIA): My question is addressed to the Iranian President.
How do you view the present political situation in Afghanistan? In the political situation in Afghanistan, and in order to cooperate in the task of reconstruction of Afghanistan, in what concrete aspects can India and Iran cooperate with each other?
H.E. SAYYED MOHAMMED KHATAMI: First of all, we both believe that we should strengthen the Central Government in Afghanistan. We should help the Central Government in Afghanistan to reconstruct that country, the country, which has been inflicted with great calamities in the past 25 years. Iran has allocated 560 million dollars as the budget to be spent for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan during five years, and this year it has allocated 50 million dollars of this budget for the same purpose. Apart from that, Iran provides various facilities to Afghanistan and the Afghan Government including facilitation of transit of goods into Afghanistan. Also, we are working to have Iran used as a transit route for India in order to help Afghanistan. This is a programme under study and implementation. We hope that in the future it would extend further.

Allow me to mention one point about the future of Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan should come to understand that the world is ready and determined to help them and to reconstruct their war-ridden country. What would endanger peace and security in Afghanistan is the despair of the people. If the people of Afghanistan would feel disappointed and would feel that the world has just used Afghanistan as an excuse and is not trying to save the people in that country from all its calamities, then there is the danger of the problem emerging again.

Those who are familiar with the history of Afghanistan well know that the people of Afghanistan hate being dependant upon foreign countries, and they do not even accept the presence of the foreign people as the ones who wish to rule their country in their lands. If the people of Afghanistan would come to the understanding that developments of the past two years including the war has just led to the presence of the foreign forces in their country without any effort to reconstruct that country, seriously this may lead to the disappointment of the people and to a new problem. We should try to have Afghanistan reconstructed as soon as possible. We should try to facilitate the possibility of implementation of the right of self determination by the people in Afghanistan and that they would be able to decide for their future. It would be only in such a way that in Afghanistan peace would be secured and peace and stability of nowhere would be threatened because of Afghanistan.

(Concluded)

Text in Italics was spoken in Persian.
The underlined text was spoken in Hindi.


Documents signedBetween Islamic Republic Of Iran And India

  • The New Delhi Declaration: The declaration is signed by Prime Minister and President Khatami. The Declaration puts forth the vision of strategic partnership between India and Iran for a more stable, secure and prosperous region and for enhanced regional and global cooperation.

    It touches all aspects of bilateral cooperation – bilateral economic cooperation, cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons, science and technology, information technology, education and training, India-Iran cooperation in reconstruction of Afghanistan, international terrorism, and other global issues.

    India and Iran agree that combat against international terrorism should not be based upon double standards. States that aid, abet and directly support international terrorism should be condemned. They reiterate their resolve to work for an early finalization of a Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism. India and Iran support a united and sovereign Afghanistan and call on the international community to remain committed towards reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. India and Iran also agree that situation relating to Iraq should be resolved peacefully under the auspices of the UN. The two sides reiterated their commitment to commence multi-lateral negotiations for nuclear disarmament under effective international control.

    The two sides recognize that their growing strategic convergence needs to be underpinned with a strong economic relationship. The sides call upon the business communities of the two countries to harness each other’s strength for mutual benefit and promote bilateral trade and investment. Energy sector has been identified as a strategic area of their future relationship in which the interests of India and Iran complement each other. The areas of cooperation include upstream and downstream activities in hydrocarbon sector and working upon secure modes of transport of energy. India and Iran also agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in defence in agreed areas, including training and exchange of visits. India and Iran would also issue a joint commemorative stamp dedicated to their common cultural heritage. The emphasis of the Declaration is on building up a contemporary relationship between India and Iran in the context of challenges of the modern world and drawing upon their historical relationship and interactions.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Road Map to Strategic Cooperation: The MoU is signed by Shri Yashwant Sinha, External Affairs Minister from the Indian side and Dr. Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister from the Iranian side. Following from the vision for a strategic partnership embodied in the New Delhi Declaration, this MoU sets a five year target oriented framework for milestones towards the strategic partnership. The two sides have agreed to work through the existing frameworks and mechanisms where they exist and to create additional ones where necessary, to achieve mutually identified targets in various areas of bilateral cooperation within clear time frames. Political dialogue and modalities of cooperation on issues of strategic significance would be promoted through the mechanisms of Strategic Dialogue, Foreign Office Consultations and the institutional interactions between the National Security Councils of the two countries.

    Among significant areas of bilateral cooperation, in the field of Oil and Gas, the two sides would formulate a joint mechanism to promote broad-based cooperation, including promoting project participation in Iran in upstream and downstream industries. The matters relating to transfer of Iranian gas to India would continued to be discussed under the existing Joint Committee for this purpose. India and Iran also agree to explore opportunities for cooperation in defence in agreed areas, including training and exchange of visits. They declare that India-Iran defence cooperation is not aimed against any third country.

    The two sides would also make concerted efforts to encourage bilateral trade and economic cooperation. This would also involve boosting non-oil trade and investment in infrastructure projects including in the ongoing discussions between India and Iran to develop Chahbahar port complex, Chahbahar-Fahraj-Bam railway link and Marine Oil Tanking terminal at an agreed location, as well as Iranian interests to invest and participate in infrastructure projects in India .
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Cooperation in the fields of Science and Technology:The nodal ministries are the Ministry of Science and Technology from the Indian side and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of Iran. The Agreement is signed by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Minister of Science and Technology and Dr. Mostafa Moeen, Minister of Science, Research and Technology of Iran. The Agreement identifies diverse fields of cooperation including information technology, bio-technology, pharmaceutical research, food technology and other fields as mutually agreed upon. The two sides would organize training programmes, research, exchange of scientists and scholars and hold seminars and workshops etc. The Agreement is expected to strengthen cooperation between the scientific institutions and scholars of the two countries. The Agreement would be valid for five years with provision of further automatic extension for similar periods.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Labour of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran on cooperation in Vocational Training:The MoU has been finalized on the basis of discussions held during the visit of Union Minister of Labour to Iran from January 8-12, 2003. The MoU is signed by Union Labour Minister Dr. Sahib Singh and Dr. Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister from the Iranian side. The two sides have agreed to mutual cooperation in the field of training and skill enhancement of the workers and exchange experience in this regard. Specific programmes of cooperation would be developed as follow up to the signing of the MoU.
  • Executive Programme of Cultural Exchange between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the years 2003-2005:Nodal ministries from both sides are Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance from the Iranian side. The Cultural Exchange Programme 2003-2005 encompasses the fields of Art and Culture, Radio, Television, Press and Films and Sports. The emphasis is to promote exchanges between leading cultural institutes, libraries, media persons and films, sports organizations and participation of teams from the two sides in each other’s sport tournaments. Translation in each other’s languages of literary works from the two countries are also included. Exchanges also include joint participation of children and teenagers in activities like paintings and other creative works. The Cultural Exchange Programme is expected to strengthen friendship and cultural bonds between the two countries.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Iran on Cooperation in Urban Water Management and Hydrological Studies:The MoU is concluded on the basis of discussions held between the Ministry of Water Resources from the Indian side and the Ministry of Water Affairs from the Iranian side. Under the MoU, the bilateral cooperation would be directed towards the activities of the Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM), Tehran established under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The two sides have agreed to cooperate, exchange experience and organize training and seminars of experts in the field of Urban Water Management and Hydrological Studies. The programme would follow the framework of the 6th International Hydrological Programme charted by the UNESCO. The two sides will establish a Joint Committee for this purpose to implement the programme and would hold regular meetings.
  • Framework Agreement between Export Import Bank of India and seven Iranian banks to operationalize USD 200 million line of credit to Iran:The Framework Agreement to operationalize the USD 200 million line of credit to Iran is aimed at encouraging India’s exports to Iran, particularly India’s participation in Iran’s infrastructure projects. Exim Bank is the designated bank from the Indian side to extend the line of credit. Exim Bank (the provider of facility) and the seven Iranian designated banks (the issuing banks), viz. Bank Mellat, Bank Melli Iran, Bank Saderat Iran, Bank Sepah, Bank Tejarat, Bank of Industry and Mine and Export Development Bank of Iran have entered into the Framework Agreement. Under the terms and conditions agreed upon, the Exim Bank would finance up to 85% of the purchase price of capital goods and related services within the limit of the total amount of the line of credit. The line of credit arrangement would facilitate availability of supplier credit and would strengthen trade and economic cooperation between India and Iran.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India and Ministry of Petroleum of the Islamic Republic of Iran:The MoU was signed by Shri Ram Naik, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Dr. Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister from the Iranian side. The objective of the MoU is to establish a general framework to implement actions of cooperation of mutual interest in hydrocarbon sector. The two sides would cooperate in India and Iran in hydrocarbon sector resources including petrochemicals, liquid and gas hydrocarbons and their derivatives, R&D, consultancy services, HRD, exploration, development, production and also processing, refining, marketing and transportation of hydrocarbons, including gas, LNG, CNG. The Indian side would support its oil and gas Public Sector Units and private companies to participate in the development of LNG projects in Iran and to purchase of LNG from Iran at competitive prices at mutually agreed commercial terms. For this purpose Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas would visit Iran within next three months. India and Iran would set up a Joint Working Group to implement cooperation under the MoU.
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