Interaction with Iranian Delegation
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) hosted an interactive session with an Iranian delegation represented by Seyed Mohammd Kazem Sajjadpour, the President of Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), a think-tank based in Tehran, Ali Chegeni, Iranian ambassador to India, and Dr. Kyhan Barzeger. The Director, Dr. Arvind Gupta during the introductory remark touched upon global issues, regional developments, bilateral relations and developing scenario in Afghanistan.

The Iranian delegation emphasized the need to abide by the commitments to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by all the parties. It appreciated Russia’s policy to reach out to all the prominent actors. From Iran’s perspective, Russia’s entry in the region has been beneficial especially in the case of Syria. There was a brief discussion on the growing role of China in the global arena. The delegation explained their position on Qatar, Palestine and current situation in Syria. They also mentioned the need for contribution to reconstruction efforts in Syria.

On Afghanistan issue, the Iranian side emphasized the regional approach which should include India. The two sides also discussed the growing dangers from terrorism and extremism to the countries from the region. Afghanistan is already a complex issue which is made more complicated by the decision of the United States to withdraw from the country. The delegation also talked about the transition in Afghan society and a growing young generation which is more aspirational and pluralistic in its approach. Any solution to the Afghanistan issue must bear in mind the changed realities of the country. There was also a discussion on having an inclusive, broad based government which includes all groups in Afghanistan.

At the bilateral level, India-Iran relations show tremendous potential, especially at the connectivity front. Also, the complementary nature of the economy of the two countries means that the trade of US $ 14.7 billion could be increased further in the near future. It was also pointed out that the current trade balance is heavily in Iran’s favor, and this needs to be corrected. It was mentioned that the recent orientation of Iranian foreign policy towards the East has opened diverse possibilities for the two countries to further strengthen the bilateral relations. In order to achieve the full potential of India-Iran bilateral relations, one potential sector which requires immediate attention by both the countries is tourism. The members of the Iranian delegation conveyed that Iran has already started giving e-visa to Indians on arrival and has done away with the requirement of a visa for the diplomatic passport holders. Another crucial point which was raised from the Indian side was the importance of creating more stakes and achieving popular support in favor of achieving stronger relations between the two countries.

Event Date 
January 10, 2019

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