|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Iran President to visit India for five hours
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | April 24, 2008 18:13 IST
Last Updated: April 28, 2008 20:36 IST
Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to New Delhi on April 29 will be for five hours only, said Seyed Ali Asghar Mirian, spokesman for the Iranian embassy, told rediff.com. However, he also said that Ahmadinejad's visit is 'almost' confirmed but still not final and that the schedule is being prepared.
Energy and regional issues are likely to be on top of the agenda. The $21 billion LNG gas project to supply India gas for ten years may also come up because it is now negotiated by the Hindujas. The MoU had been signed but the agreement was not signed so Iran had backed out and is now asking for a renegotiation of the price.
Mirian said that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement (on India and Iran in response to the US) is quite correct and they are satisfied with it.
The short visit may pave the way for final negotiations between India and Iran on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
Murli Deora's ongoing visit to Islamabad is being monitored closely by the Iranians because they think that the issue of "transit fee" is the only major hurdle to move forward on the pipeline project.
If this major issue is sorted out the IPI pipeline issue will a momentum before Mukherjee's proposed visit to Tehran in June.
Deora is also talking to Pakistan about the Trans Afghanistan Pipeline but Iranians point out that IPI issue doesn't have the hurdle of security of the pipeline as TAPI because it passes though Afghanistan.
With democratic government in place in Pakistan, the Iranians are hopeful that the IPI project will move to the final stage of negotiations.
Mirian said a joint press conference with President Ahmadinejad and Dr Singh is also under consideration.
On April 30, Esfandyar Rahim Moshaei, Iran's vice-President and Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation chief, will arrive in India with a 65-member delegation to take part in the Iranian culture week in India. The Iranian delegation will consist of painters, writers and artistes. The delegation will also visit Mumbai.