Iran president to visit India this month

April 20th, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will make his first visit to India at the end of the month. National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan announced Sunday that Ahmadinejad “will be visiting India soon” before the Iranian leader visited Sri Lanka. According to media reports, he is set to arrive in Colombo on April 28 - so Ahmadinejad is expected to be in Delhi in the last weekend of April.

Narayanan was speaking at the first International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS)-Citi India Global Forum here.

The previous visit of an Iranian president to India was of Mohammad Khatami as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2003. The last Indian head of government to visit Teheran was prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001.

Last year, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee travelled to Teheran in February and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari was in Delhi in September.

India has traditionally taken the stand that Iran had a right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while fulfilling its international obligations. It has, therefore, diverged from the US stance of imposing sanctions on Iran and preferred an institutionalised dialogue to engage the major West Asian country.

Both countries have a lot of commonality on regional issues, especially Afghanistan, where India is building a road linking the Afghan highways to the Iranian border.

On the energy front, India has been keen to tap Iranian energy sources through a trans-national pipeline and LNG contracts, but both of these major projects are still to take off

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