Jaishankar meets Iranian President

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, welcomes Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar for their meeting in Tehran, Iran. (PTI Photo)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and apprised him of the outcomes of the Joint Commission and progress in the bilateral ties.

Jaishankar, who is here on a two-day visit, co-chaired the 19th Joint Commission Meeting with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Sunday during which the two sides agreed to accelerate work on the strategic Chabahar project.

"Thank President Dr. @HassanRouhani for so graciously receiving me today. Apprised him of the outcomes of the Joint Commission and progress in our bilateral ties," Jaishankar tweeted.

The Chabahar port -- jointly being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan -- is considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade with central Asian nations by the three countries. It is located on the Indian Ocean in the Sistan and Baluchestan province of Iran.

Jaishankar also met Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, and held wide-ranging discussions with him on regional security and bilateral relations.

He also met Roads and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami to assess progress on the connectivity projects.

"Reaffirmed our shared determination to make speedier headway," he tweeted.

His visit to Iran comes days after the US provided a rare exemption to India from sanctions on the Chabahar port as Washington said it recognised that the strategic project was a lifeline for war-torn Afghanistan to get humanitarian supplies from India.

Jaishankar said he had a very good conversation on the regional and global picture with the Iranian foreign minister.

"India and Iran will work together closely on their shared interests," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Rouhani on the sidelines of the high-level 74th Session of the General Assembly in September.

In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations.

The port on the energy-rich nation's southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at a distance of around 80-km from Chabahar.

India, the world's third biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports. Iran was its third-largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia till recently. 

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