New Delhi: Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will be on a visit to India on Monday, his first to the country since taking over last year. The top Iranian diplomat arrived in Delhi late on Sunday and will hold talks with his counterpart India’s external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar on Monday. The minister then leaves for Sri Lanka on Tuesday. While he took over as the new Iran FM last year, he had held number of conversations with his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar number of times. Both the ministers spoke on 8th of this month on number of issues, including Afghanistan. The Iranian side offered to transfer India’s humanitarian aid to Afghanistan including wheat, medicine to the country.
Connectivity, with focus on Chabahar port, trade, Afghanistan remains a top focus during the talks in Delhi. India is developing the 1st Phase of Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar. After operations began at the Chabahar port in December 2018, the port has handled more than 8200 TEUs and 1.28 million tonnes of bulk cargo. Meanwhile, on Afghanistan, since Taliban takeover, both Delhi and Tehran have been in regular contact with each other. Iran’s Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani had visited India in November to take part in the Delhi regional security dialogue on Afghanistan.
Amid the Covid crisis, regular exchanges have happening with New Delhi sending out supplies of covaxin covid vaccine to the country. Visit comes even as talks have been happening in Vienna to restore the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal. Ahead of the visit, Iran FM extended his greetings on India’s Republic day. He said, “Will continue to work towards further expansion of all-out relations, bilaterally, regionally and at international fora.”
The Iranian foreign minister’s visit to Colombo comes a month after both sides concluded a pact under which Sri Lanka pay off oil import bill with tea. The tea for oil deal as its being called will see Sri Lanka settling $251m oil import dues by sending $5 million worth tea to Iran pending since last 4 years. The pact save Sri Lanka foreign currency even as economic worries mount for the country. The visit to India and Sri Lanka comes days after the Iranian FM visited Russia and China to hold talks with his counterparts. The implementation of the Iran and China 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement was announced during the visit of FM Hossein to the country.