President Hassan Rouhani is to travel to India on a three-day visit, with regional and international developments as well as trade posing to form major talking points between the two sides.
The Iranian president will be traveling to the subcontinent on Thursday at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The invitation was submitted to Rouhani last year by India’s Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, who had traveled to Tehran to attend the president’s inauguration ceremony.
Non-oil trade between the countries reached $4.74 billion in the 12 months that followed March 2016, up by 4.17% compared to the same period in the previous year.
Iran is India’s third oil supplier. The country imported 12.5 million tonnes of crude from the Islamic Republic in the period running from April 2017 to October 2018.
India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading toward Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at the Chabahar port city in southern Iran.
Chabahar provides India with an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan. The Indian government has committed $500 million to developing the port, with an aim to join an increasingly important transport corridor to resource-rich regional countries.
Commenting on the upcoming trip, The Hindu Business Line wrote, “India is all set to host Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later this week reasserting the growing ties between the two countries.”
“New Delhi has been looking at Tehran for emboldening its connectivity plans with Western Asia and also secure its energy needs.”
It said the subcontinent also sought to use Iran as its pathway towards Europe “through the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor.”
India’s plan to use the Iranian soil and airspace to connect farther westwards and northwards, the paper said, was an answer to China’s One-Belt-One-Road initiative, which likewise seeks to foster connectivity.
Modi visited Iran in May 2016, the first by a person in his capacity in 15 years.