NEW YORK: Iran on Thursday expressed desire to become part of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), that links western China with Gwadar deep-sea port in Balochistan and runs through Pakistan- occupied Kashmir.

This was conveyed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in their meeting here on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly session.

“President Rouhani lauded the vision of the Prime Minister for translating CPEC into reality and expressed his desire to be part of the CPEC,” a statement by Sharif’s office said.

It said that connectivity projects were recognized by both Pakistan and Iran as vital to the progress of the region.

“In particular, the two leaders reiterated the complementarity between Gwadar and Chabahar sea ports that could boost regional trade exponentially in the decades ahead,” it said.
India has concerns over the US$ 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being laid through PoK.

He apprised President Rouhani of alleged Indian brutalities in Kashmir, particularly in the past two months. Sharif shared the latest situation in Kashmir, which continues to remain tense in the wake of the uprising that has surfaced in response to Indian barbaric acts in the Valley.

“The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been victims of heinous acts of state-sponsored terrorism at the hands of Indian occupation forces,” the statement said.

The lifting of international sanctions against Iran has paved the way for resumption of economic relations between the two countries. Current trade volume remains low at USD 268 million per annum.

Border management and security were also discussed, according to the statement.

Opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, especially oil, gas and electricity were also discussed. The two sides noted that progress on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and electricity import from Iran would help overcome Pakistan’s energy shortages in the coming years, it said.

Rouhani said Iran can install a power plant on border with Pakistan to supply electricity. “We consider Pakistan’s economic development as our development,” the President was quoted as saying.

According to the statement, Rouhani said Pakistan’s security is security of Iran and that there is a need for defence cooperation between Iran and Pakistan as there is a history of defence cooperation between the two countries.

“Iran is a brotherly country. Our interests are same; we need to further consolidate our economic cooperation,” he was quoted as saying.