New Delhi: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will arrive in India today for a three-day tour of the country to strengthen trade relations with the Southern part of the country. Mr. Rouhani visit comes a month after the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was here, indicating India’s delicate balancing act. The President’s first stop will be in Hyderabad where he will visit the Salar Jung Museum, Golconda Fort, and Qutb Shahi Tomb.
Rouhani will land at the Begumpet Airport at around 4 pm. He is scheduled to address Muslim intellectuals, scholars, and clerics at 6; 30 pm tomorrow, sources said.
On February 16, the President will address the Muslim congregation at Makkah Masjid, after performing the Friday prayers at the historic mosque. Religious scholars from different schools of thoughts will also participate in the session.
This is the second time that he will be visiting Hyderabad and the first visit after assuming charge as the president in 2013.
The Iran President holds a doctorate in Constitutional Law (with the thesis titled-Flexibility of Shariah and Islamic Law) from Glasgow’s Caledonian University in the United Kingdom.
The formal bilateral talks begin on Saturday when he is in New Delhi. He will be given a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan before his meeting with PM Modi. He will also deliver a speech at the Observer Research Foundation later in the day.
India and Iran will be hoping to iron out several issues particularly the slow progress on the Chabahar Port which Iran feels has got stuck due to US pressure on countries and the latest set of sanctions on Iran.
India is already routing a consignment of 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar port. It is critical trade route for India to the rest of Central Asia and is just 90 km from Pakistan’s Gwadar port, where the Chinese have invested heavily.
The oil and the gas cooperation will be the other issue on the table. India imports oil and gas from Iran, but negotiations have been pending on the Farzad-B-gas and oil fields in Iran’s southern area, which India has expressed interest in.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said earlier “During the forthcoming visit of President of Iran, both sides would review the progress achieved in bilateral relations and also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.”