Iran Prez on 3-day India visit
Reasserting growing ties between the two countries, Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani will be on a three-day State visit to India from February 15-17 on the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This will be Rouhani’s maiden trip to India after coming to power in 2013.
Rouhani will first arrive in Hyderabad on Thursday where he will address a gathering of Muslim intellectuals and clerics after offering Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid. In New Delhi, Rouhani will hold talks with Modi on Saturday covering various aspects of the bilateral relations followed by signing of a few agreements.
“During the forthcoming visit of the President of Iran, both sides would review the progress achieved in bilateral relations and also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” Ministry of External Affairs said.
Apart from discussions on trade, investment and connectivity including the Chabahar Port, the two sides will also discuss the regional security issues. Iran, like India, has serious dispute with Pakistan on cross border terrorism. The relations dipped further last year after Iranian military chief Major General Mohammad Baqeri threatened Islamabad of military action like India’s surgical strike on the terror safe havens inside Pak following attacks by militant group Jaish al Adl against Iranian security forces.
“We cannot accept the continuation of this situation. We expect the Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists and shut down their bases. If the terrorist attacks continue, we will hit their safe havens and cells, wherever they are,” Maj Gen Baqeri had said. The statement was followed by hectic diplomatic parleys from Pakistani side to appease Iranian leadership.
Bilaterally, India and Iran have several areas of convergence. Despite delays part operations have started at India-backed Chabahar Port in Iran which is being used by India as an alternative transit route to access Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
Iran has been the third major supplier of crude oil to India. However, the relations between the two countries developed a bit cold after Iran failed to award the Farzad B gas field contract to India’s OVL-led consortium despite political commitments by top leaders. The negotiations on Farzad B gas field are stuck over pricing issues and as per latest information OVL is working out a fresh offer to save the deal.
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