Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (File Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been on a seven-day visit to the United States since September 21, on Thursday met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss issues of mutual and regional interests. The duo met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in the New York city.
The meeting was eagerly awaited as it comes amid escalating face-off between Iran and the United States on Tehran's nuclear programme. Earlier in June, the two leaders could not hold talks during Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan due to scheduling issues.
India, the world's third biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports. Iran was its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia till recently.
The six-month-long exemptions from US sanctions to India and seven other countries to buy oil from Iran expired on May 2 as Washington did not extend it. Indo-Iran ties have been on an upswing in the past few years.
Prime Minister Modi visited Tehran in May 2016 with an aim to craft a strategic relationship with Iran and expand India's ties with the West Asia. During the visit, India and Iran signed nearly a dozen agreements, centrepiece of which was a deal on development of the strategic Chabahar port.
Later, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement providing for transport of goods among the three countries through the port. In February 2018, Rouhani visited India, becoming the first Iranian President to visit India in a decade. During his visit, the two sides signed a dozen agreements.