India-Iran Military Cooperation: Analysing Iranian Defence Minister's Visit To India
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|February 2021
The Indian foreign policy has undergone significant changes in approach and directions under Prime Minister Modi from non-alignment to multi-alignment with strategic autonomy.
Dr Khushnam P N

The regional outreach through its “Neighbourhood First” and “Extended Neighbourhood” policies are pathways designed for India’s global footprints. In its pursuit of the shaper of the global landscape, security has assumed greater salience with a strategic focus on military and defence cooperation. India’s Iran policy at present with its civilizational and cultural linkages epitomises India’s new vision and pursuit in the region and beyond. Iran assumes utmost importance in India’s Afghan policy, Central Asian Vision, Continental Security and Maritime Security. There is strong synergy in these geopolitical and security vision of the two Indian Ocean Rim countries. The visit of the Iranian Defence Minister now is a crucial reminder of this natural milieu as well as the necessity of cooperation in the military and defence arena for security and stability of the shared region.

The vision of strategic cooperation set by the “Tehran Declaration”, 2001 during the Iran visit of Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was strengthened by the “Delhi Declaration” during the visit of President Khatami in 2003 and agreement for the development of Chabahar port by India. The trajectory of cooperation was boosted tremendously in 2016 with the visit of PM Modi and the signing of the Tripartite Treaty’ on Chabahar trade and transit hub by India, Iran and Afghanistan, an endorsement of mutuality of geopolitical and geostrategic interests and shared vision of security and prosperity. The visit and of talk of defence cooperation signifi es the strategic relationship based on multiple shared interestspolitical, economic and security with credible military cooperation component.

The stop-over by our Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishanker in Tehran on the way to Moscow for Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet in September 2020 manifests deeper geopolitical and security interests of the two countries. This becomes apparent in the words of Shree Rajnath Singh that “We discussed regional issues including Afghanistan and the issues of bilateral cooperation.” In his address to SCO in Moscow, he added that “We are deeply concerned about the situation in the Persian Gulf.”

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