The trilateral transit agreement signed by India, Iran and Afghanistan allows Indian goods to reach Afghanistan via Iran. It connects ports on the west coast of India to the port of Chabahar and includes road and rail links between Chabahar and the Afghan border.  The port of Chabahar is considered the gateway for India, Iran and Afghanistan in gold with Central Asian countries, in addition to boosting trade between the three countries after Pakistan`s refusal to transit to India. The most important agreement signed by an Indian joint venture was a Phase I development contract for the port of Chabahar on The south coast of Iran. Under another agreement signed on February 17, Iran allowed India to operate its southern port, Shahid Beheshti, a step that could allow India to avoid Pakistan and reach markets in Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond. The scholar Neil Padukone does not believe that India`s goal is to encircle Pakistan.  India needs access to iron from the Hajigak mine in Afghanistan and other natural resources from Central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, which is made possible by the port of Chabahar. However, in the long term, pipeline-to-rail-to-sea-to-road transportation costs through Chabahar should be bypassed by direct transit through Pakistan. So far, Pakistan has been reluctant to grant such access.  The U.S. State Department does not currently consider military cooperation between Iran and India to be part of the Chabahar project, although it has warned India against maintaining cooperation with Iran within the legal framework. The United States also considers the Indian presence in Major Asia to be beneficial in spreading the soft power of democratic and friendly regimes.  India hopes that Western countries would use the Chabahar route to connect to Afghanistan and reduce their dependence on Pakistan.  A “milestone” pact on the strategic port of Chabahar in southern Iran, which will allow India access to Afghanistan and Europe to bypass Pakistan, was part of the agreements signed today by India and Iran, which also declared their readiness to cooperate in the fight against radicalism and terrorism.