Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to have brief stopover in Tehran enroute to Delhi

NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will have a brief stopover in Tehran on Saturday (September 5, 2020) enroute to Delhi from Moscow in what would be the first high-level visit by an Indian minister to the Islamic nation ever since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.

According to reports, Singh will make a brief stopover in Tehran tonight and is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with his Iranian counterpart.

In a tweet, Rajnath said, “Leaving Moscow for Tehran. I shall be meeting the Defence Minister of Iran, Brigadier General Amir Hatami.”

Rajnath Singh was in Moscow for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Defence Ministers’ meeting. The eventful visit to Moscow saw a meeting between him and the Chinese defence minister amidst the ongoing border tension at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The meeting came at the request of the Chinese side.

Iran is an observer country of the SCO grouping. Singh’s visit to Iran is significant since Iran is a key neighbour to the West and part of India’s extended neighbourhood and Delhi has wide-ranging interests from energy to security to connectivity.

Iran also remains India’s gateway to Central Asia, Afghanistan and Eurasia.

While Iran has recently signed a mega-deal with China, Tehran and Delhi continue to cooperate in the strategically located Chabahar Port and are trying to expedite the conclusion of Preferential Trade Agreement to enhance business ties.

This is also the first visit to Iran by any Indian minister since the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ commander Qasem Soleimani by Americans earlier this year.

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