In Meet With PM, Iran’s Rouhani To Focus On Visa, Oil, Chabahar: 10 Facts
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are likely to discuss key areas of bilateral ties
with a focus on trade, including the deepwater Chabahar Port.
New Delhi: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was greeted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ram Nath Kovind today on the last of his three-day visit of the country. Mr Rouhani’s visit comes a month after the Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was here, indicating India’s delicate balancing act. The Iranian President’s first stop was Hyderabad where he visited the Salar Jung Museum, Golconda Fort and Qutb Shahi Tomb. This was his second visit to Hyderabad and the first after becoming Iran’s President in 2013. Addressing people at the Makkah Masjid after offering Friday prayers, he talked about “unity against western powers” and praised India for “peaceful coexistence” of people of different religions.
Here’s your 10-point guide to this story:
- The formal bilateral talks begin today when Mr Rouhani is in New Delhi. He will be given a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan before his meeting with PM Modi. He will also deliver a speech at the Observer Research Foundation later in the day.
- India and Iran will be hoping to iron out several issues, particularly the progress on the deepwater Chabahar Port that Iran feels has got stuck due to the US pressure on other countries and the latest set of sanctions against Iran.
- India is already routing a consignment of 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar port. The $85 million port project, just 90 km from the China-sponsored Gwadar port in Pakistan, is significant as it gives a transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
- Oil and gas cooperation will be the other issue on the table. India imports oil and gas from Iran, but negotiations have been pending on Farzad-B gas and oil fields in south Iran, which India has expressed interest in.
- “Iran has abundant oil and natural gas resources and is willing to share them with India for its progress and prosperity of (its) people,” Mr Rouhani said in Hyderabad. A 21-member delegation of ministers and businessmen from Iran is accompanying him and they are looking to seal a number of deals.
- A major geopolitical decision is Indians can invest in Iranian infrastructure and connectivity projects in rupees, making Iran the only country apart from Bhutan and Nepal to get this privilege. This helps Iran bypass sanctions and boost ties with India.
- Iran has said it will simplify visa norms for Indians so that people to people ties could improve. Mr Rouhani said he hopes India will do the same for the people of his country.
- In Hyderabad, Mr Rouhani, who is a Shia, visited the Sunni mosque Mecca Masjid and called for unity among Muslims. He joined people in offering prayers at the 17th century mosque. “If Islam is presented before the world in true sense, then the whole world will love this religion,” he said.
- The Iranian President condemned the travel ban imposed by US President Donald Trump on some countries by branding Muslims as terrorists, news agency PTI reported. He said Islam is based on kindness and affection.
- The US has said it would not come in the way of India-Iran trade matters. In October 2017, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a visit to India had said the Trump administration saw “no contradiction” with US-Iran sanctions and India’s port project in Chabahar.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from a Hindustan Times)
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