ISLAMABAD: Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said his country does not consider Chabahar and Gwadar ports as competitors to each other, and asserted that linking the two ports will bring regional prosperity and boost bilateral trade between the two countries.

The Iranian ambassador told Business Recorder that Pakistan’s Gwadar and Iran’s Chabahar are two important ports, adding that if they become more active, the two ports will bring regional progress and prosperity.

He said Pakistan was working on the infrastructure of Gwadar port to boost economic activities, while Iran had also specific programmes to make Chabahar port more active.

“Some are trying to present these two ports as competitors to each other, while we do not take it as a competition but a compliment to each other,” he asserted, adding that potential of the two ports could be utilised better by connectivity through rails.

He said Iran had announced its readiness to provide electricity for Gwadar port.

“We believe more progress of these ports will bring prosperity in the region and the trade volume will also increase automatically. In fact, we see progress and security of Pakistan as progress and security of Iran,” the Iranian envoy said.

He said the people of the two countries, especially at the border side can take benefit of the trade activity.

At present, he said the trade volume between Pakistan and Iran was $1.3 billion, but due to Covid-19, the volume went down as the pandemic had badly affected the overall economic situation across the world. In view of existing potential, he added that the two-way trade could be increased even further. Due to Covid-19, the border between the two countries was closed and there was the closure of transportation and transit between two countries. “While the problem has been resolved, I hope with cooperation and participation by the two countries, routine business at borders will resume and we will witness re-growth in trade cooperation,” he added.

He identified various fields for the investment between the two countries, such as energy, gas, electricity and oil, adding, that Iran had a very good potential in the energy sector. “We can have a significant amount of exports in these areas to Pakistan,” he added.

About the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, the Iranian envoy said the IP gas pipelines project was signed between Iran and Pakistan in 2009, adding that Iran had undertaken its part of work despite illegal US sanctions and other economic pressure and constraints. “We are looking forward towards Pakistan to fulfill the commitment in this regard. If we can execute this investment project, there are a lot of other fields in which we can have growth in the areas,” he added.

At the moment, he said Iran was exporting a small amount of electricity to Pakistan, adding that his country had already announced its readiness to export more electricity to Pakistan.

In other fields such as tourism, health and pilgrim tourism, he said that the two sides could have the investment to boost and increase the number of the traveling passengers to both the countries.

“The future of Pakistan-Iran bilateral relations is very bright as the motive and resolve of the leadership along with the interest of people of these countries is that they should boost their relationship in various fields despite the enemies and ill-wishers of the two countries,” he added.