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'Iran, India can replace the dying big powers'

By Ammar Zaidi
May 18, 2010 19:46 IST
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In the rapidly changing world structure, Iran and India must stay together and should not neglect the present opportunities to replace the 'dying' big powers, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told visiting External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Tuesday.

Krishna, who was in Tehran representing India at the meeting of the G-15 developing nations, met Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president highlighted the need for the two nations to work together on regional issues.

"The two leaders talked about the situation in the region," an external affairs ministry spokesman said and described the near 30-minute meeting as a "warm and cordial interaction".

"It (Af-Pak situation) was briefly mentioned. The two leaders touched upon the situation in the region," he said. The Iranian president wanted the two nations to be in touch on regional issues, the spokesperson said.

"Referring to the regional situation, the President underlined the desirability (and) need for India and Iran to be in touch (and) to work together," he said.

Ahmadinejad told Krishna that Iran and India should stay together because of their cultural characteristics and common historical records, the present situation in the region as well as the contemporary world conditions which call for close cooperation between the two countries, the official IRNA agency said.

"He (Ahmadinejad) also underlined the rapidly changing world structure and said Iran and India should not neglect the present opportunities to replace the dying big powers," it said. The Iranian president was apparently referring to the United States and other western countries.

The fiery Iranian leader believed that closer ties between Iran and India will benefit other countries as well because Tehran and New Delhi have always sought peace and security for both the region and the world, the agency said.

The spokesman said, "India has always played an important role in global affairs including the Non-Alignment Movement and G-15 organisations."

Krishna also conveyed the greetings of President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the President, and to the leadership and people of Iran.

"The external affairs minister congratulated the President and the Iranian government for the very successful hosting and conduct of the G-15 Summit and excellent arrangements made," the spokesperson said. Recalling India's civilisational links with Iran, Krishna noted that the two nations were neighbours (before India's partition) and have always been good friends.

Ahmadinejad warmly welcomed the external affairs minister and echoed his sentiments, saying India and Iran had joint roots. He also expressed satisfaction that the Indo-Iran Joint Commission would take place shortly which would "give impetus to cooperative and multi-faceted ties".

The last joint commission meeting was held about 18 months ago in Tehran and the next meeting is planned in New Delhi. Iran, Krishna said, was happy to see India's economic development and progress.

The president requested Krishna to convey his greeting to the president and prime minister of India. Krishna thanked the president of Iran for receiving him warmly.

Krishna had on Monday met his counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki and discussed bilateral relations and trade ties. After the meeting, IRNA reported Mottaki as saying "India can, as an influential country, play a very decisive role in the region."

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Ammar Zaidi In Tehran
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