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Iranian, Indian defense ministers hold talks to discuss regional security

Iranian, Indian Defense Ministers Meet to Discuss Regional Security

TEHRAN – Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, and his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh held talks in Tehran on September 6 on international, regional and bilateral issues, according to IRNA.
Rajnath Singh arrived in Tehran on Saturday for an unscheduled stopover on his way back from Moscow after a three-day visit, during which he attended a meeting of defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
It was the first trip by a senior Indian official to Iran since the December 2019 outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The English-language Indian daily and The Economic Times notes that Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that he had a “very fruitful” meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on regional security issues, including the situation in Afghanistan.
Trade relations between India and Iran have traditionally been dominated by the Indian import of Iranian crude oil. In 2018-2019, India imported $12.11 billion of crude oil from Iran.
However, after the significant reduction exemption (SRE) period ended on May 2, 2019, India suspended its imports of crude from Iran.
The United States had asked countries, including India, to reduce oil imports from Iran to “zero” by November 6, 2019, due to sanctions.
Meanwhile, the Anadolu Agency (AA) claims that, according to knowledgeable sources in Iran’s Defense Ministry, the two sides also discussed recent tensions between Tehran and Washington and the US attempts to restore pre-2015 sanctions against Iran.
Recent tensions between India and China in the disputed region of Kashmir have also been discussed.
AA notes that Iran’s relations with Beijing have improved dramatically in recent years and that the two sides are currently in talks to sign a mega-deal. In contrast, India’s relations with China have deteriorated.
The peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Afghanistan was also brought up during the talks.
Singh’s visit to Tehran would be seen as necessary by regional observers, in the context of recent developments at the Iranian port of Chabahar, where Iran has reportedly abandoned India on a lucrative project.
Both countries have participated in the development of the port, which connects India to Afghanistan.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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