In a rare diplomatic gesture, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar travelled to Tehran on July 8, 2021, and called on Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, a month before he assumes office.
Mr. Jaishankar, who made a transit halt in Tehran on his way to Moscow for bilateral consultations, handed over a personal message to the President-elect from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and also met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
Mr. Jaishankar’s visit comes at a time of deepening concern over the security situation in Afghanistan in the wake of the pullout of U.S. troops, as the Taliban make rapid advances over various districts around the country. Significantly, Mr. Jaishankar’s visit to Tehran coincided with the visits of a senior Taliban delegation led by Taliban political bureau head Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai and Afghanistan’s former Vice-President Yunus Qanooni, where the Iranian government is hosting, for the first intra-Afghan dialogue between them.
Mr. Jaishankar is also expected to discuss the situation in Afghanistan with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during the talks in Moscow.
Mr.Jaishankar is paying a three-day visit to Russia to discuss the entire range of bilateral issues as well as key regional and international developments such as preparations for the planned visit by President Vladimir Putin to Delhi for the India-Russia annual summit, the upcoming BRICS summit to be hosted by India, as well as expected deliveries of the S-400 Triumf missile systems later this year. He will also deliver a speech on “India-Russia ties in a Changing World” at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations.