India, Iran foreign ministers review bilateral ties, regional situation
External affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif reviewed bilateral cooperation and held talks on regional developments during a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday.
Jaishankar made a stopover in Iran to meet Zarif on his way to Russia, where he will participate in a meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) during September 9-10 and also hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
He was the second Indian minister to make a brief visit to Iran in two days. Defence minister Rajnath Singh held talks with his Iranian counterpart Amir Hatami during a stopover in Tehran on Sunday while on his way back from Russia, where he too attended a SCO meeting.
In a tweet, Jaishankar described his meeting with Zarif as “productive”. He added, “Discussed strengthening our bilateral cooperation and reviewed regional developments.”
Zarif tweeted that he and Jaishankar discussed the “expansion of bilateral relations and trade, and exchanged views on important regional issues”. He said, “Our active engagement with our neighbourhood is our top priority.”
Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh noted in a tweet that Jaishankar was visiting Tehran “a couple of days” after the Indian defence minister. “During the talks, the two sides emphasised on their will to further expand the bilateral ties in all aspects,” he said.
There was no readout from both countries on the meeting.
The visits to Tehran by the Indian cabinet ministers assume significance in view of reports that China and Iran are close to an agreement for a 25-year strategic partnership in trade, politics and security. They also came against the backdrop of India working closely with Iran to increase the economic viability of the strategic Chabahar port.
The evolving situation in Afghanistan, where an intra-Afghan dialogue is set to get underway, is believed to have figured in the talks between Jaishankar and Zarif.
Jaishankar last visited Iran in December last and had spoken to Zarif in April. This is his first trip abroad since foreign travel by ministers was curtailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.