Iran backs India's role in Afghanistan

Iran backs India's role in Afghanistan

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told External Affairs Minister S M Krishna that Tehran wanted India to play a greater role in Afghanistan, as well as on other regional and global situations.

Krishna called on Iranian President at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, a few hours before leaving Tehran at the end of a four-day-long tour. During the half-an-hour long “warm and very cordial” meeting; Ahmadinejad stressed that New Delhi and Tehran should be “in touch and work together” on regional and international affairs.

According to Joint Secretary and spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Vishnu Prakash, Iranian President said that India had always played an important role in world affairs, including in the Non-Aligned Movement and other multilateral forums and hoped that it would continue to do so in the evolving global and regional context too.
“India as an influential country can play a very decisive role in the region,” the Information and Media Office of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Mottaki as telling Krishna during a bilateral meeting on the sideline of the G-15 summit on Monday.

The remarks of Ahmadinejad and Mottaki came amid growing unease in New Delhi over the Af-Pak policy of President Obama and Islamabad’s aggressive campaign to stress the role of Iran and India in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. India’s pledged assistance in reconstruction in Afghanistan has already crossed $1.3 billion. Although several projects have already been completed, New Delhi has been re-calibrating its role in the country in the wake of the February 26 terrorist attack that killed seven Indians in Kabul. Ten Indians were killed in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009.

Though Iran, unlike India, wants the US-led International Security Assistance Force to withdraw from Afghanistan soon; Tehran shares New Delhi’s opposition to Obama Administration’s move for reconciliation with so-called ‘good Taliban’.

Krishna reached Tehran on Saturday to give a fresh impetus to India-Iran ties that was at a low ebb ever since New Delhi sided with Washington and voted against Iran in the IAEA in 2005 and 2006.

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