External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday called on Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi and handed over a personal message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a stopover in Tehran on his way to Russia.
Mr Raisi, the former judiciary chief, won a landslide victory in Iran’s presidential election in June. He will take office in early August.
“Thank President-elect Ebrahim Raisi for his gracious welcome. Handed over a personal message from PM @narendramodi. Appreciate his warm sentiments for India. Deeply value his strong commitment to strengthen our bilateral ties and expand cooperation on regional and global issues,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted along with his pictures with Raisi.
Thank President-elect Ebrahim Raisi for his gracious welcome. Handed over a personal message from PM. Appreciate his warm sentiments for India. Deeply value his strong commitment to strengthen our bilateral ties and expand cooperation on regional and global issues.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar)
Prime Minister Modi last month congratulated President-elect Raisi and said he looked forward to working with him to further strengthen the warm ties between India and Iran.
“Congratulations to His Excellency Ebrahim Raisi on his election as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I look forward to working with him to further strengthen the warm ties between India and Iran,” PM Modi had tweeted.
During his brief stay in Tehran, Mr Jaishankar also held talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, covering various aspects of bilateral relations and regional developments.
“Always a warm welcome from FM @JZarif. Useful discussion on regional and global affairs,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted.
Always a warm welcome from FM. Useful discussion on regional and global affairs.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar)
“Iranian Foreign Minister @JZarif met with Indian Foreign Minister @DrSJaishankar in Tehran and discussed the bilateral relations and regional developments,” the Iranian Embassy in New Delhi said in a tweet, which was retweeted by the Indian Embassy in Tehran.
Interestingly, Mr Jaishankar’s visit to Tehran comes on a day when Iran is hosting a high-level intra-Afghan dialogue between Taliban and Afghan government representatives, in the midst of major developments in Afghanistan where the US military is getting ready to exit the war-torn nation before September 11.
The intra-Afghan dialogue is being attended by the Taliban political committee led by chief negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the Afghan government officials, including former Vice President Younus Qanooni, and others from the High Council for National Reconciliation.
India, a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan, has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
On September 12, 2020, an Indian delegation attended the inaugural ceremony of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Qatar’s capital Doha while Mr Jaishankar joined it through a video conference.
Mr Jaishankar last month met US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha and exchanged perspectives on the war-torn nation.
The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 after multiple rounds of negotiations to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war.
India has been keenly following the evolving political situation after the US signed the peace deal with the Taliban. The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains on Washington’s 18-year war with Taliban in the country.
In early March, Mr Jaishankar and Khalilzad spoke over phone and discussed the developments pertaining to the Afghan peace talks.
In the same month, Mr Jaishankar attended the 9th Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, where he voiced “grave concern” over violence and bloodshed in Afghanistan and said that there is need for a genuine “double peace” in and around the war-torn country.
India remains committed to steadfastly supporting Afghanistan during its transition. Its development partnership of USD 3 billion, including more than 550 Community Development Projects covering all 34 provinces, is aimed at making Afghanistan a self-sustaining nation, he had said.
While in Moscow, Mr Jaishankar is also expected to exchange views on the situation in Afghanistan with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.