Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Saturday arrived in Tehran where he will meet his Iranian counterpart, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, and discuss defence ties between the two nations. He arrived in the country from Moscow, where he participated in a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers.
A day earlier, in an address to the combined meeting of defence ministers of the SCO, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Commonwealth of Independent States member states, the Defence Minister had called for greater dialogue between the countries in the Persian Gulf.
“India has vital interests and links of civilisation and culture with all States in the [Persian] Gulf,” he had said. “We call upon countries in the region—all of which are dear and friendly to India, to resolve differences by dialogue based on mutual respect, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of each other.”
A series of incidents in the Persian Gulf involving Iran, the US and the UAE in recent weeks have flared up tension in the region. Last month, the Iranian navy briefly seized control of a Liberian-flagged oil tanker in what the US said were international waters near the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman to the south and the Arabian Sea beyond.
“Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh reached Tehran this evening. He will be meeting the Iranian Defence Minister (Brigadier General Amir Hatami) during his visit,” his office tweeted.
In Moscow, Singh had held bilateral talks with his counterparts from Russia, China and the Central Asian countries. Before leaving for Iran on Saturday, Singh also held bilateral talks with his counterparts from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajiskistan.
He tweeted, “I had a wonderful meeting with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Defence, Major General Kurbanov Bakhodir Nizamovich in Moscow today. Defence Cooperation remains an important pillar of India- Uzbekistan bilateral relations.
“Productive interaction with the Defence Minister of Kazakhstan, Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev. We discussed ways to add further momentum to India-Kazakhstan defence cooperation,” he said in another tweet.
Regarding his meeting with his Tajik counterpart, Singh wrote, “Had an extremely fruitful meeting with Defence Minister of Tajikistan, Colonel-General Sherali Mirzo in Moscow. Our talks included a wide spectrum of India-Tajikistan defence relations.”