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India Seeks to Expand Raisi's Legacy in Ties with Iran

© Photo : TwitterIndia Seeks to Expand Raisi's Legacy in Ties with Iran
India Seeks to Expand Raisi's Legacy in Ties with Iran - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.05.2024
PM Modi has said that he has been left "deeply saddened and shocked" at the demise of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a chopper crash on Sunday. "His contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered," stated Modi.
The upswing in Iran-India ties in both bilateral and multilateral formats under deceased Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is a cherished legacy which New Delhi would hope to build upon in coming months and years, former Indian Ambassadors have told Sputnik India.

"President Ebrahim Raisi's commitment to a strong relationship with India was beyond doubt. He appreciated the importance of a rising India, saw the Kashmir issue with a right perspective, favoured India's enhanced engagement in Chabahar, and welcomed New Delhi's support for Iran's entry into BRICS," remarked Ambassador (retired) Rajiv Bhatia, currently a Distinguished Fellow at Mumbai-based think tank Gateway House.

Bhatia stated that this "legacy needs to be preserved and expanded in mutual interest".

Raisi's policy of strengthening ties with both China and India had "yielded good dividends," Ambassador (retired) Anil Trigunayat, a Distinguished Fellow at New Delhi-based think tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), told Sputnik India.

He said that both Raisi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were able to establish "greater trust" between their countries despite the looming threat of US sanctions.

"PM Modi and President Raisi met on the margins of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg in 2023 when India supported Iran's candidacy to BRICS and welcomed it as a member. Later, they also spoke with regards to developments in Gaza as well as Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Most recently and more significantly, they signed a 10-year port management deal on Chabahar, which is a testament of the two countries developing greater trust despite US sanctions," the former Indian envoy explained.
Trigunayat noted that India-Iran ties have always been marked by "mutual understanding and appreciation of each other's position in the ongoing tumultuous geopolitical landscape".
In fact, during his visit to Tehran in January amid the Gaza hostilities, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar and deceased Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian expressed converging views on a range of issues, including on the situation in Afghanistan, bolstering economic exchanges and connectivity projects, as well as expediting humanitarian aid to Gaza and de-escalation of the situation.
Both the countries have been firm on their commitment in supporting a two-state solution, in spite of New Delhi's close ties with Israel.
Jaishankar also underscored during that visit that New Delhi had been a "strong advocate" of Iran's BRICS membership as well as had backed its accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
© Photo : Social MediaTalks held between India and Iran to establish cooperation framework on Chabahar Port
Talks held between India and Iran to establish cooperation framework on Chabahar Port - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.05.2024
Talks held between India and Iran to establish cooperation framework on Chabahar Port

Iran to Resolutely Continue Pursuing its Foreign Policy Agenda

Emphasising continuity in foreign policy, Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations said in a statement on Monday that Tehran would continue to pursue its "foreign policy agenda" under Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
“Without a doubt, the path of Iran's foreign policy will continue with strength and power, under the guidance of the Supreme Leader,” the statement read.
It further hailed the contributions of Raisi and Amirabdollahian for doing "what they could to realise the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran".

Notably, the Council commended Raisi's and Amirabdollahian's efforts in "confronting" the US sanctions, securing Iran's membership in SCO and BRICS, expanding ties with Russia-backed Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), supporting the 'Axis of Resistance' and the Palestinian cause, as well as improving Tehran's ties with neighbouring nations.

Iran’s surging crude exports, primarily to China, is being viewed as one of the major foreign policy successes of Raisi.
Commenting on Raisi's foreign policy, Trigunayat noted that the ex-President was a "pragmatist" despite being viewed as a "hardcore conservative".
"He tried hard for the regional modus vivendi especially with arch rival Saudi Arabia. Iran was also able to stay afloat despite the ongoing West Asian crisis and plays a critical role in security and stability in the region," Trigunayat said.
The ex-envoy reckoned that Raisi may have left a "divided opinion" domestically, in view of the crackdown on protests sparked after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran in 2022.
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi attends a joint press conference with Turkish president in Ankara, on January 24, 2024.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.05.2024
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