External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday made a stopover at Tehran on her way back from Russia, and held a luncheon meeting with Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif during which issues of mutual interest were discussed. Swaraj was returning from the Russian city of Sochi where she attended the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
“Reinforcing our traditionally close and civilizational linkages, EAM @SushmaSwaraj had a luncheon meeting with the Foreign Minister of Iran Dr. Javad Zarif in #Tehran. Both sides discussed issues of mutual interest,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. The two ministers are understood to have reviewed the implementation of the Chabahar port project in which India is a key partner.
Over a month ago, India had sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through the Chabahar port in Iran, which was seen as a “landmark” move to operationalise a new strategic transit route among the three countries bypassing Pakistan. The port is likely to ramp up trade between India, Afghanistan and Iran in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi for trade with the two countries. Swaraj was on a bilateral visit to Iran in April last year. MEA officials said it was a technical stopover.