Iranian president to meet Manmohan April 29

April 22nd, 2008 - 12:24 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will arrive here April 29 on a working visit lasting a few hours, the Indian external affairs ministry announced here Monday. Ahmadinejad, who will be on his first visit to India, will arrive here after a two-day state visit to Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold talks with the Iranian president April 29 on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global ties, including the intensification of economic and energy ties. Ahmadinejad will leave for Tehran later in the day.

This will be the first visit by an Iranian head of state to India in five years.

The two leaders will discuss the status of negotiations on the proposed multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline that remains mired in differences over the pricing of gas and other issues.

Ahmadinejad’s visit will be a good opportunity for India to arrest the drift in its ties with Iran since it voted twice against it for allegedly pursuing a nuclear programme, suspected of developing nuclear weapons, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found it in non-compliance with its norms.

Ahmadinejad will also call on President Pratibha Patil and discuss the strengthening of centuries-old ties between the two countries.

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan Sunday stressed on “civilisational and economic ties” between India and Iran at an international seminar here.

Being a country with the world’s second largest Shia population, Narayanan said India had an added advantage in promoting a negotiated settlement to the Iranian nuclear standoff and warned that “any mishandling will impact negatively on us”.

India has supported Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy within the framework of its international obligations, but has made it clear that another nuclear-armed nation in its neighbourhood is not in New Delhi’s interests.

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