Jaishankar to meet Iranian FM on Wednesday amid Prophet remark row

    June8/ 2022
    Last Updated:

    New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is scheduled to hold talks with his visiting Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Wednesday amid widespread anger in West Asian countries over controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad made by two former Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons. Abdollahian is paying a three-day visit to India with an aim to further enhance bilateral ties. It is the first visit to India by a senior minister of a member nation of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation after the controversial remarks triggered anguish in the Arab world.

    His visit, beginning Tuesday night, comes two days after Iran joined Kuwait and Qatar in summoning the Indian ambassadors over the remarks against Prophet Mohammad by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal.

    Since then, several countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Bahrain, Maldives, Malaysia, Oman, Iraq and Libya denounced the comments.

    The ministry of external affairs on Monday categorically rejected criticism of India by the OIC following the comments on the Prophet.

    According to the MEA, Abdollahian will travel to Mumbai and Hyderabad after concluding his engagements in New Delhi.

    A media advisory issued by the MEA said Jaishankar and Abdollahian will hold talks at 1 pm on Wednesday.

    Iran has been a key country for India in the Gulf region.

    The two sides have been jointly focusing on improving connectivity between South East Asia and Central Asia.

    At a connectivity conference in Tashkent in July last year, Jaishankar projected Iran's Chabahar Port as a key regional transit hub.

    Located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran's southern coast, the Chabahar port is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to boost connectivity and trade ties. India has been in touch with Iran over the developments in Afghanistan following its takeover by the Taliban on August 15.

    The Iranian National Security Advisor had attended a regional conclave hosted by India in November on the Afghan crisis.

    The conclave was also attended by NSAs of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.—PTI