Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in New Delhi later this week on his first visit to the region after taking over. Meanwhile, the Government today reaffirmed its stance on Iran, saying the best way to deal with the nation is diplomatically and “wrongs committed by others” would have a direct impact on India.
Confirming the visit, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, speaking during an interaction at the IISS-Citi India Global Forum in New Delhi, said: “Ahmadinejad will be coming here shortly on his way to Sri Lanka. There will be discussions.” He did not give any date for the stay in New Delhi but Ahmadinejad heads out to Sri Lanka for a two-day visit on April 28. He will inaugurate an Iran-sponsored hydel power project in Sri Lanka.
The last visit to India by an Iranian president took place in 2003 when Mohammad Khatami was invited as the chief guest at the 2003 Republic Day parade.
Reiterating New Delhi’s historic ties with the country and its importance in internal matters, Narayanan said that Iran is not just a matter of international policy but also a domestic issue as India has the second largest Shia Muslim population in the world.
“India has a relationship with Iran that goes back several hundreds of years… what happens in Iran or what others do with Iran has a major impact on us,” Narayanan said.
He said the world must realise that while there are differences of opinion, Iran needs to be treated diplomatically as it is a country with “tremendous influence” and “wrongs and mistakes committed by others” would have a direct impact on India.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines