0411 GMT October 15, 2019
President Hassan Rouhani received Modi at Sa’adabad Cultural Complex where they sat for their first meeting to discuss mutual ties as well as regional and international issues on Monday morning.
Modi is the first Indian prime minister in Iran in the last 15 years on a visit which will mainly focus on connectivity, infrastructure, energy partnership and bilateral trade.
“Enhancing connectivity, trade, investments, energy partnership, culture and people to people contacts would be our priority,” Modi wrote on his Twitter account on the eve of his visit.
Modi is expected to meet Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei later in the day.
“My meetings with President Rouhani and Hon’ble Supreme Leader of Iran will provide an opportunity to advance our strategic partnership,” the Indian prime minister wrote.
“India and Iran enjoy civilizational ties and have shared interest in the peace, security, stability and prosperity of the region,” he added.
The two countries are set to sign 14 cooperation agreements, including an agreement to develop the southern Iranian port of Chabahar.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will also travel to Tehran to join Rouhani and Modi to sign a trilateral agreement.
Chabahar is located in the Gulf of Oman on the border with Pakistan. It is Iran’s closest and best access point to the Indian Ocean.
The port will be a game changer for regional connectivity, especially for Afghanistan, which can find an assured and reliable alternative access to India via sea.
The route will also significantly enhance prospects for India’s connectivity with Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond through synergies with other initiatives touching the region such as North-South transport corridor.
Modi’s first travel to Iran will also feature discussions on terrorism in the region as well as on India's desire to secure energy assets for a fast growing economy.
India is one of the biggest clients of Iranian crude. Ahead of Modi’s visit, reports said India had made the first euro payments to Iran in four years to clear part of its $6.4-billion oil debt to Tehran.
Overall, India’s crude oil imports from Iran have topped 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), reaching the highest level in at least five years.