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Natwar Singh to visit Iran to consolidate ties

August 30, 2005 19:27 IST

External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh will visit Iran on Friday, marking India's first high-level political contact with the new government there. He will explore ways for consolidating bilateral ties, particularly in the energy sector.

During his three-day stay, Singh will hold talks with his counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki on the entire gamut of bilateral relations, regional and international issues of mutual concern. He is also expected to call on President Mahmud Ahmedinejad and meet the new chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.

Matters pertaining to security, nuclear issues and the proposed 7.4 billion dollar gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan are expected to figure during the deliberations.

The minister is also likely to affirm that India will maintain and consolidate its strong traditional ties with Iran. Official sources said Singh will convey to the Iranian leadership that India desires to work closely with them to further implement their 2003 Joint Declaration for forging a strategic partnership, touching all aspects of bilateral relations.

Ahead of the visit, Indian Ambassador to Iran, KC Singh, has arrived here to brief the minister on the trip.

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