Iranian President Hassan Rouhani landed in India on Thursday for a state visit. He arrived at Hyderabad’s Begumpet airport around 4 PM and later in the evening he will be addressing a gathering of Muslim intellectuals and clerics in the city. This is his first visit to India after taking charge as the Iranian President in August 2013.
On a three-day visit, he will discuss the “latest regional and global developments” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders.
Following his address to the Muslim intellectuals, scholars and clerics tomorrow, Rouhani will also be addressing the weekly congregation at the historic Mecca Masjid after offering Friday prayers. Islamic scholars from different schools of thoughts will be present on the occasion, the sources said.
During his stay in the state capital, Rouhani is also expected to visit historic sites, including the Qutub Shahi Tombs at Golconda. On Friday, the Iranian President will leave for New Delhi.
In New Delhi, apart from holding extensive talks with Modi and other Indian leaders on key bilateral and regional issues, the Iranian leader is also scheduled to deliver a special address at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) on Saturday, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) said.
During the meetings, Rouhani and Indian leaders will discuss, “the latest regional and global developments and the finalisation and exploitation of Chabahar port as soon as possible that can be very effective for bilateral trade in the region and mutual access of Afghanistan to regional and international markets”, according to the media report.
During Modi’s bilateral visit to Iran in 2016, nearly a dozen pacts were signed between the two countries.
The Trilateral Transit Agreement (Chabahar Agreement) was also signed by the three transport ministers of India, Iran and Afghanistan in the presence of Modi, Rouhani and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The strategically important port will open up the transit route for India to Iran and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
India and Iran have robust economic and commercial ties covering many sectors though it has traditionally been dominated by Indian import of Iranian crude oil and the country continued to engage with Iran at the time of sanctions.
According to the external affairs ministry, India-Iran bilateral trade during the fiscal year 2016-17 was USD 12.89 billion. India imported USD 10.5 billion worth of goods mainly crude oil and exported commodities worth USD 2.4 billion.
(With inputs from PTI)