Jaishankar meets Iranian counterpart; discusses further developing bilateral ties

NewsDrum Desk
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Tehran, Jan 15 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian here and the two leaders discussed further developing bilateral relations and reviewed regional and international developments.

Jaishankar is here as part of the ongoing high-level exchanges between the two sides.

Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian met with his Indian counterpart Jaishankar in Tehran and the two ministers discussed developing bilateral relations, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

"They also reviewed regional and international developments," it added.

Earlier on Monday, Jaishankar began his engagements in Iran by meeting Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash during which the two sides held a detailed and "productive" discussion on establishing a long-term cooperation framework on the strategically vital Chabahar port.

Jaishankar also exchanged views on the International North-South Transport Corridor with Bazrpash.

"Began my engagements in Tehran by meeting Minister of Roads and Urban Development @mehrdadbazrpash. Detailed and productive discussion on establishing a long-term cooperation framework with respect to Chabahar port. Also exchanged views on the International North-South Transport Corridor," he said in a post on X.

Located in Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran's southern coast, the Chabahar port is being developed by India and Iran to boost connectivity and trade ties.

India has been pushing for the Chabahar port project to boost regional trade, especially for its connectivity to Afghanistan.

At a connectivity conference in Tashkent in 2021, Jaishankar projected the Chabahar port as a key regional transit hub, including to Afghanistan.

The Chabahar port is also seen as a key hub for the INSTC project.

The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

Jaishankar's planned visit to Tehran comes against the backdrop of growing global concerns over Houthi militants targeting merchant vessels in the Red Sea amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The US and the UK have launched air strikes targeting the Houthi positions in Yemen.

India has been closely monitoring the unfolding situation in the Red Sea. The issue figured in a phone conversation between Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.

The Indian Navy has already enhanced deployment of its frontline ships and surveillance aircraft for maritime security operations in view of the maritime environment in the critical sea lanes including the North and Central Arabian Sea.

Following the airstrikes targeting the Houthi positions, US President Joe Biden said he will not hesitate to direct further measures. "The response of the international community to these reckless attacks has been united and resolute," he said.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra visited Tehran in November to co-chair a meeting of India-Iran Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) along with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for political affairs, Ali Bagheri Kani. PTI ZH AKJ ZH ZH