Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Trade ties on agenda, Iran Prez Hassan Rouhani arrives in India…

Trade ties on agenda, Iran Prez Hassan Rouhani arrives in India…

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in India Thursday on a three-day state visit.

The President of Iran will visit the Grand Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad where he will offer Friday prayers and later address the weekly congregation.

He would stay at the Taj Krishna hotel on Thursday night, and leave for New Delhi on Friday evening.

During his two-day visit to the city, President Rouhani, who is accompanied by a 21-member delegation, will also meet people of Iranian-origin living in Hyderabad.

Previously in an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Afghanistan's Ambassador to India, Dr. Shaida Abdali said, "India, Afghanistan, and Iran worked together for nearly 13 years before realizing the life-changing initiative".

While the details are unclear as to why Dr Rouhani chose to land in Hyderabad first, sources maintain that it is because Hyderabad has a deep Iranian influence on every sphere of life.

On Saturday, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India, Afghanistan and Iran have been engaged in trilateral cooperation on Chabahar which will lead to establishment of an "International Transport and Transit corridor between India, Afghanistan and Iran".

This is Rouhani's second visit to Hyderabad and the first after becoming president. "During the visit, in addition to holding talks with a number of high-ranking officials including India's president in and prime minister, we will also sign several MoUs in different fields".

India is trying to develop the port of Chabahar on Iran's east coast as a way to gain access the markets of central Asia as well as Afghanistan by by-passing arch-rival Pakistan.

India-Iran bilateral trade stood at $12.89 billion in 2016-17, according to figures provided by the External Affairs Ministry.

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