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Singh, Ahmedinejad discuss nuclear issue ahead of VXIth NAM Summit

Tehran, Aug 29 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, called on his host, the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, here this evening on the eve of the XVIth Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit.

The two heads of government discussed the nuclear issue, said an official source.

India, the source added, expressed hope for progress in the P5+1 Dialogue and underlined that this would contribute positively to peace and security in the region.

The one-hour-long meeting covered a whole gamut of issues, said an official source. The two exchanged views on NAM and bilateral relations, laying stress on the importance on enhancing ties and enrichment of trade relations, emphasizing the great potential it held.

Both Dr. Singh and President Ahmedinejad expressed satisfaction on the cooperation in the development of the Chahbahar Port, which could serve as an important gateway for trade and transit to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

In this regard, the official source said, both leaders welcomed the trilateral meeting held between Afghanistan, India and Iran on August 26, and hoped that concrete results would emerge from the deliberations of the Joint Working Group of experts from the three countries set up as a result of the trilateral meeting.

Iran hopes to play a major role in the region once U.S. troops leave in 2014, and India and Iran have collaborated in the past with regard to politics in Afghanistan.

The world, especially the United States was watching this meeting between Dr Manmohan Singh and President Ahmedinejad with keen interest to see the body language of the two leaders. There was a warm handshake, but no hugs, a two hand salute when bidding adieu to Dr. Singh, and the Iranian President had made clear that the ties were warm, but not over effusive between the two countries.

Dr. Singh too sent a message back home, and to the world community that he did would not succumb to American pressure. He did not make a brief stop in Tehran like the Egyptian President did just for attending the summit. Instead, he spent three full days in Tehran, which by the Prime Minister's standards is a very long stay in any country.

It is also a signal to his detractors back home that his administration will not buckle under U.S. pressure. Iran is an important part of India's foreign policy and that it is not being ignored or sidelined by this administration.

Both leaders expressed satisfaction on the emphasis on enhancing economic and trade relations. They agreed that there was great potential in strengthening economic cooperation further. The Prime Minister raised the issue of the need for Iran to import more from India to redress the trade imbalance, and in this regard, the resumption of Indian wheat exports to Iran was stressed.

Both leaders also discussed the forthcoming foreign ministers-level meeting between the two countries that Iran will be hosting in November. The Indian Prime Minister thanked the Iranian President for granting approval for an Indian cultural centre in Tehran which would be operationalised as early as possible, said the official.

President Ahmedinejad and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan, Syria and West Asia, and emphasized the need for international cooperation to effectively combat the scourge of terrorism, said the official.

By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indiaís leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.
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