Iranian prez to pay 3-day visit to India from tomorrow

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Diplomats in New Delhi say Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will try to encourage Indian businesses to invest "billions of dollars" in the Islamic Republic during his three-day visit which will start on Thursday.

Iranian authorities are "trying to reinforce its news control both at home and internationally", the Paris-based media watchdog said on February 13.

During the visit of the President Rouhani, both nations would review the progress achieved in bilateral relations and also exchange views on regional and worldwide issues of communal interest. On Tuesday, officials of the Iranian security agencies and the local police visited and inspected the various places that Dr Rouhani is scheduled to visit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Iran in May 2016, when a trilateral agreement among Iran, India and Afghanistan was signed to develop Chabahar port and onward connectivity with Afghanistan. Indo-Iranian bilateral trade during the fiscal year 2016-17 was $12.89 billion.

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The port has been touted as a way for India to establish trade routes that bypass its rival Pakistan, but the project has seen multiple delays.

The next day, Rouhani will offer Friday prayers at Makkah Masjid, a 17th-century mosque, located near the historic Charminar in the Muslim-majority old city. Rouhani will arrive Hyderabad on Thursday and he will leave for Iran on February 17.

PM Modi's first tour to Iran had featured discussions on terrorism in the region as well as on India's desire to secure energy assets for a fast-growing economy. The port is about 72 km from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, which China is developing, Reuters wrote in a report on Rouhani's visit.

Telangana Chief Secretary Shailendra Kumar Joshi held a coordination meeting at the Secretariat in Hyderabad on Rouhanis visit and directed officials of different departments to make foolproof arrangements for his visit. He will then have meetings with the president and the prime minister.

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