Interaction with Dr. Alinaghi (Kamal) Kharrazi, Iran’s Former Foreign Minister
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Dr. Alinaghi (Kamal) Kharrazi, former Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, escorted by Ambassador Gholamreza, Iran’s present Ambassador to India, visited the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on 20 March 2017 for an interaction. The interaction focused largely on two issues, namely, furtherance of India-Iran relations and an assessment of strategic and security paradigm in our extended neighbourhood (Af-Pak region) and West Asia. General NC Vij, Director, VIF, welcomed the visiting dignitary and also the chaired the interactive session. Amb DP Srivastava, Amb Ashok Kantha, Amb Rajiv Sikri, Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney, Mr. CD Sahay, among others, participated in the deliberations.

Discussions were held in a frank and candid atmosphere where both sides underscored the need to forge new grounds for cooperation in consistence with the emerging dynamics in the region. Preceding the interactive session, both Dr. Kharrazi and General NC Vij underscored the aspect of complementarity in the bilateral ties between India and Iran. General Vij, in particular, argued for an all-encompassing bilateral cooperation between the two countries, including areas for cooperation in counter-terrorism, science and technology, industry, energy, trade, and culture, among others. Besides, the Director also underscored the necessity of fast-tracking crucial infrastructure-related projects which both countries have jointly undertaken. General Vij further stressed that counter-terrorism cooperation between India and Iran is crucial to defeating terrorism in this part of the region.

Concurring with General Vij’s views, Dr. Kharrazi, historically an influential member of the Iranian political establishment who played a key part in improving Iran’s relations with its neighbours under President Mohammad Khatami, flagged his concern about the possibility of fleeing Deash operatives getting safe sanctuaries in the fragile Af-Pak region, as also in the adjoining Central Asian region. In order to soften up the hard-shell of terrorism, it is however imperative to develop the region economically, the Iranian diplomat stressed. As a case in point, he stressed that joint development of Chabahar Port on the south-eastern seacoast of Iran, especially the economic spinoffs gleaned from the project, will not only significantly boost up intra-regional trade but also wean away poor youths in the region from joining terrorist groups. To that end, the Iranian diplomat stressed on developing further connectivity from Chabahar to Afghanistan and across to Central Asia through a network of roads and railways, an exercise that will make the port economically more viable and competitive.

During the interactive session, the strategic dimension of Chabahar Port was further underlined when interlocutors pointed out that it will provide landlocked Afghanistan with an opening for sea trade, thus reducing Kabul’s strategic dependence on Islamabad. Afghanistan’s stability, Iran’s relations with the United States and regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, Russia, among others, figured prominently during the interactive session.

Event Date 
March 20, 2017
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