On November 26, 2023, the 18th India-Iran Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) were held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. The meeting was co-chaired by Indian Foreign Secretary Mr. Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Mr. Ali Bagheri. Several bilateral matters were discussed during the FOC, ranging from trade, political, agriculture, and economic to cultural, people-to-people ties, capacity building, and connectivity projects like that of the Chabahar port. There were also discussions on current issues of global and regional significance.
Highlights of the Meeting:
A wide range of discussions on consular, economic, and international issues were undertaken in the meeting. The meeting outlined the priorities in the near future that both sides would have to keep in mind with regards to relations between the two. Mr. Ali Bagheri pointed out the ever-growing relationship between India and Iran and suggested keeping up mechanisms to ensure sustained and strategic interactions. He also highlighted the increasing importance of expanding Delhi-Tehran relations to multilateral and regional arenas. Through this, he was hinting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS (a group of emerging economies consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the United Nations, and its affiliated institutions. Mr. Ali appreciated India’s Global South initiative as it would facilitate more people-to-people interactions, thereby strengthening relations between the two nations. It would foster a healthy engagement between the intellectuals and elites in India and Iran and deepen existing bilateral ties. Mr. Ali also communicated Iran’s eagerness to host the 20th Joint Economic Commission meeting as early as possible.
Mr. Vinay conveyed India’s political determination to strengthen and expand its bilateral ties with Iran, as the latter occupies an important position in India’s foreign policy. He also added that “India welcomes collaboration with Iran within the frameworks of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS and is prepared to enhance bilateral economic ties in diverse sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, and traditional medicine, among others.” Furthermore, Mr. Vinay also conveyed India’s eagerness to foster cultural, scientific, and sporting ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Vice President of the Iran-India Joint Chamber of Commerce, Mahdi Rangrona, and the Director General and CEO of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, Ajay Shai. The MoU was meant to elevate cooperation on matters of trade, quality standards, investment, and technology transfer. Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had also met with Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi to discuss matters of bilateral and regional significance. The recent meeting between the two high-level officials would bolster the ties between the two countries even further. During his visit, Mr. Vinay also called on the Foreign Minister of Iran, H.E. Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and Dr. Mehdi Safari, Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy of Iran, on separate occasions and discussed pressing bilateral and multilateral issues.