Krishna in Tehran to revive old ties

Krishna in Tehran to revive old ties

SMK plans to cash in on Mottakis Blore connection

Krishna is here to represent India in the G-15 summit on Monday. But what New Delhi is eagerly looking forward to is his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the summit.

The External Affairs Minister is expected to use his personal rapport with Mottaki, who has a bachelor’s degree in social science from Bangalore University, to “clarify further” India’s position on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme and mend the bilateral relations that were hit after New Delhi’s pro-Washington stand in the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) in 2005 and 2006 upset Tehran.

India voted against Iran in the IAEA at a time when it was desperately pushing for the nuclear deal with the US. Tehran perceived it as “an act of betrayal” by New Delhi.
Krishna is likely to convey to Mottaki India’s current stand on the nuclear programme of Iran and the US-sponsored move to impose sanctions on the country: That New Delhi does not favour any nuclear weapon ambition of Tehran, but also believes that Iran, being a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, has all the rights like other nations that signed the treaty to peaceful use of atomic energy. And that India is opposed to sanctions on Iran. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself articulated India’s latest stand after his meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington last month.

Mottaki had met Krishna in New Delhi last November, when they developed an excellent rapport, with Mottaki recalling his days in Bangalore and Krishna hosting for him a lunch with masala dosa, dahi vada and Mysore pak on the menu.

Though New Delhi had again voted against Tehran in the IAEA just a few days after Mottaki’s visit, it had also started subtly changing its stand on Iran. What prompted New Delhi to give a relook to its stand is the Obama Administration’s new policy on Afghanistan that apparently sidelined New Delhi, tilting towards Pakistan.

Uncomfortable with Washington’s Af-Pak policy, India has over the past few months been trying to seek Iran’s support to its own role in Afghanistan. Krishna is likely to convey to Mottaki that New Delhi would also like to see Tehran in a bigger role in Afghanistan.

Though Iran, unlike India, wants the US-led International Security Assistance Force to withdraw from Afghanistan soon, Tehran shares New Delhi’s opposition to the US move for reconciliation with so-called ‘good Taliban’. “We belong to the same region and have similar perceptions on regional issues,” the External Affairs Minister told journalists here.
Strengthening energy ties, the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline and economic cooperation tops the agenda for Krishna-Mottaki meet.