India’s NSA visit to Iran, held talks with his Iranian counterpart right ahead of annual SCO meet where Iran is to become a permanent member of the regional organisation.
Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Advisor is on a day-long trip to Iran. Mr. Doval met his Iranian counterpart Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council in Tehran on Monday, where they reportedly discussed on a wide-ranging topics focusing on economic, social, political as well as security concerns between the two countries.
The NSA, reportedly is also going to meet the Iranian External Affairs Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian during the visit.
Iran is supposedly going to be a permanent member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization SCO, the world’s largest regional organization in terms of geographic scope and population at the grouping’s annual summit later this year. India is the permanent member of SCO and is also the current chair of the organization.
India is also going to hold SCO’s foreign ministers’ meeting scheduled to be held on May 4-5, where Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is going to attend the meeting, after a long haul since 2014 of any high-ranking official meet between the two countries.
Iran and India bilateral ties
Iran holds a strategic location in terms of its geography and places itself as a crucial geographical trade passage for India. The port of Chabahar is located in Iran’s South Eastern region in the Gulf of Oman, which is an exclusive port with direct connection to the ocean. Often called the ‘gateway to golden opportunities’, the port provides for passage of trade between the Central Asian countries and Iran, India and Afghanistan.
It comes as a strong alternative to counter Chinese ‘China Pakistan Economic Border (CPEC)’. Also, it enables India to bypass Pakistan trade route and forms a direct chain for India to trade with Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries.
Due to India and Pakistan’s mostly ever-turbulent relations, it often handicapped India to depend on Pakistan’s only trade route to connect with Afghanistan and other Central Asian republics. Pakistan often halted the permission-grant to India to use the trade route, hence Chabahar Port comes out to be a much-needed alternative for India’s swift trading with countries.
Iran has been pitching for faster development and implementation of Chabahar Port. Iranian ambassador, Iraj Elahi last month, called on the strategic importance of Chabahar Port, not only limited to economic aspects but includes benefits beyond financial progress.
India’s External Affairs minister, S. Jaishankar in last year’s SCO meeting underlined the importance of regional connectivity that Chabahar Port and International North-South Transport Corridor furnishes and the economic yield it will produce over time.
The Iranian ambassador last month also called on India to resume importing crude oil from Tehran. India, in 2019, stopped importation of oil from Iran to evade US sanctions after a waiver grant to some of the buyers expired.
The United States has put sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme which has been going on in the country after falling out of the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and other six major powers of the world to limit Tehran in its nuclear promulgation.
Elahi called on India to not succumb to pressures from Western powers’ referring to India’s stand on its oil import from Russia during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis as well as the western sanctions which have been put on Moscow.