Defence Minister Rajnath Singh leaves for Iran after completing 3-day Moscow visit

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh completed his Moscow visit on Saturday and left for Iran for a bilateral meet. In a tweet, Rajnath Singh said he will be meeting his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Amir Hatami.

The defence minister was in Russia for a three-day visit during which he attended a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers.

Significantly, on Friday, a day before leaving for Iran, Rajnath Singh in his speech urged countries in the Persian Gulf countries to resolve their differences through dialogue based on mutual respect.

Besides the SCO meet, Rajnath Singh also held bilateral talks with his counterparts from Russia, China and the Central Asian countries.

India on Friday said that it was “deeply concerned” about the situation in the Persian Gulf and called upon the countries in the region to resolve their differences by dialogue based on mutual respect.

A series of incidents in the Persian Gulf involving Iran, the US and the UAE in recent weeks have flared up tension in the region.

“We are deeply concerned about the situation in the Persian Gulf,” Singh said in his address at a meeting of the SCO.

Last month, Iranian navy briefly seized control of a Liberian-flagged oil tanker in what the US said were international waters near the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman to the south and the Arabian Sea beyond.

Iran has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the United States tries to strangle its economy.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations, which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.

Iran has an observer status in the SCO, which was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005. Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc in 2017.

(With inputs from PTI)

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