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EghtesadOnline: Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar made a stopover in Tehran on Tuesday to hold consultations with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on his way to Russia for a meeting of the foreign ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The two top diplomats discussed the latest developments in Tehran-New Delhi ties as well as major regional and international issues, ISNA reported.  

According to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, both sides reiterated their will to expand relations in all sectors. Jaishankar had last visited Iran in December 2019.

This is the second trip by a senior Indian official to Tehran in a week, following Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit on Sunday on his way back from the SCO defense ministers’ meeting in Moscow.

Singh discussed regional security issues, including Afghanistan and issues of bilateral cooperation, with Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami.  

The back-to-back visits to Tehran by the Indian Cabinet ministers come at a time when China and Iran are close to an agreement for a 25-year strategic partnership in trade, politics and security, raising the possibility of Beijing replacing New Delhi in Iranian development projects such as Chabahar Port and Chabahar-Zahedan railroad. 

The Indian-run projects in Chabahar are facing delays, as Indian firms drag their feet because of their business dealings with American firms.

The United States has imposed stringent sanctions on Tehran after its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal two years ago, threatening other countries with punitive measures in case of doing business with Iran.  

India has earmarked nearly $14 million for the strategic Chabahar Port project in southeastern Iran, which gives India connectivity to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

Jaishankar is set to hold bilateral meetings with counterparts on the sidelines of the SCO meeting in Moscow, including with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. 

 

Mohammad Javad Zarif Tehran Indian FM Jaishankar Shanghai