External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will pay a two-day visit to Iran beginning Monday to discuss with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian a range of key issues including the unfolding security situation in the Red Sea.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the two ministers will deliberate on bilateral, regional and global issues.
“External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will visit Iran on January 14 to 15 as part of the ongoing high-level exchanges between the two sides,” it said on Saturday.
“He will meet Foreign Minister of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and hold discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues,” the MEA said in a statement.
It said political cooperation, connectivity initiatives and strong people-to-people ties will constitute important aspects of the agenda of the talks between Jaishankar and Amir-Abdollahian.
Jaishankar’s planned visit to Tehran comes against the backdrop of growing global concerns over Houthi militants targeting merchant vessels in the Red Sea amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The US and the UK have already launched air strikes targeting the Houthi positions in Yemen.
India has been closely monitoring the unfolding situation in the Red Sea. The issue figured in a phone conversation between Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.
The Indian Navy has already enhanced deployment of its frontline ships and surveillance aircraft for maritime security operations in view of the maritime environment in the critical sea lanes including the North and Central Arabian Sea.
Following the airstrikes targeting the Houthi positions, US President Joe Biden said he will not hesitate to direct further measures.
“The response of the international community to these reckless attacks has been united and resolute,” he said.
Jaishankar and Amir-Abdollahian are also likely to deliberate on boosting regional connectivity through the Chabahar port.
Located in Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran’s southern coast, the Chabahar port is being developed by India and Iran to boost connectivity and trade ties.
India has been pushing for the Chabahar port project to boost regional trade, especially for its connectivity to Afghanistan.
At a connectivity conference in Tashkent in 2021, Jaishankar projected the Chabahar port as a key regional transit hub, including to Afghanistan.
The Chabahar port is also seen as a key hub for the INSTC project.
The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra visited Tehran in November to co-chair a meeting of India-Iran Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) along with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for political affairs, Ali Bagheri Kani.