0739 GMT October 17, 2021
Jaishankar is the first Indian foreign minister to visit Armenia since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992. Armenia was the final stop on his three-nation tour that has also taken him to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, hindustantimes.com reported.
India and Armenia are members of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which has the potential to bridge the connectivity barrier between the two sides, and Armenia’s interest in using Chabahar port figured in Jaishankar’s talks with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan.
“Minister Mirzoyan and I discussed the interest which Armenia has shown in the utilisation of the Chabahar port in Iran, which is being developed by India,” he told a media briefing in Yerevan.
“We have also proposed that Chabahar port be included in the INSTC. We would definitely like to welcome the use of Chabahar port and any other initiatives that will increase the connectivity between our countries,” he said, adding the two sides also discussed the possibility of direct flights under an air services agreement.
Jaishankar reiterated India’s consistent position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan through diplomatic means.
He also expressed India’s support for resolving the dispute under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and for the trilateral ceasefire mechanism brokered by Russia in November 2020.
“Regarding the regional security situation in light of developments in the Caucasus region since last year, India’s position has been very consistent... India has always been in favour of peace and stability in this region,” he said.
Armenia and Azerbaijan signed the Russia-brokered ceasefire on November 10 last year to end six weeks of heavy fighting that killed some 7,000 military troops and civilians on both sides.
Noting that India was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Armenia and establish diplomatic ties in 1992, Jaishankar said his visit marked the beginning of a new phase of cooperation between the two sides.
However, relations between India and Armenia date back several centuries, including the presence of an Armenian diaspora in India and its contribution to the country’s progress, he said.
Jaishankar said he and Mirzoyan carried out a comprehensive review of bilateral relations and agreed on a roadmap for future cooperation at various levels. They also agreed on strengthening economic and commercial cooperation, especially in tourism, hospitality, infrastructure and investment.
Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, with which India is currently negotiating a trade agreement. The pact is expected to boost trade relations, he said.
The two governments will also facilitate more contacts between trade bodies and chambers of the two sides, he added.