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Source: The Tribune

May 2, 2023

In Tehran, NSA Doval meets Iranian President Raisi, Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian
Raisi noted that Iran and India can develop their cooperation to a new level

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has pitched for taking India-Iran ties to a "new level", especially in the economic and commercial fields, during a meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in Tehran.

Raisi also conveyed to Doval in the meeting on Monday that groupings such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the BRICS can be "very effective" in view of the global geo-political changes, according to a statement issued by the Iranian President's office.

The NSA was on a day-long visit to Iran on Monday. Besides calling on Raisi, Doval held separate talks with his Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

In their meeting, Doval and Amirabdollahian exchanged views on development of the Chabahar port, ways to deal with terrorism, issues relating to bilateral banking and the situation in Afghanistan, the Iranian foreign ministry said.

In a statement, it said the Iranian foreign minister called for boosting trade ties and hoped that the holding of a meeting of the joint economic commission in Tehran will generate fresh momentum in the relations.

It said Doval talked about unfolding developments globally and referred to a broad range of areas where Tehran and New Delhi can work together.

"Doval then stressed on the necessity of putting in place a roadmap of cooperation between the two nations within the framework of a long-term partnership," it said.

The foreign ministry said cooperation in the Chabahar port project figured in the talks and Doval underlined its importance including for the Central Asian region.

"In their meeting, Amirabdollahian and Doval also exchanged views over the joint work of Iran and India in Chabahar, bilateral banking issues, the sanctions removal talks and regional issues, including the developments in Afghanistan," it said.

In his meeting with Doval, Raisi made a mention of his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Uzbek city of Samarkand in September last and that both sides wanted to expand ties in the economic and commercial fields, the Iranian President's office said.

It said Raisi noted that Iran and India can develop their cooperation to a new level to "have an impact on the developments caused by the establishment of the new world order".

While referring to various global developments, the Iranian President said the SCO and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) can be "very effective" platforms  to deal with many issues.

Doval's visit to Iran comes ahead of a foreign ministerial meeting of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa this week.

India is the current chair of the SCO and Iran is set to be made a permanent member of the grouping at its annual summit later this year.

The implementation of the Chabahar Port project in Iran is also a key focus area in the bilateral ties between New Delhi and Tehran.

Recently, Iranian ambassador Iraj Elahi strongly pitched for faster implementation of the Chabahar port project as well as use of the facility by India to send various shipments, saying the key transit hub will benefit both the countries.

He also said that there is a need to look at the Chabahar project beyond economic perspectives.

Located in Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran's southern coast, the Chabahar port is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to boost connectivity and trade ties.

Iran has been seeking resumption of import of crude oil by India from Iran.

India stopped procurement of crude oil from Iran after the US did not continue with sanction waivers to India and several other countries.

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