India a model for cultural diversity: Iranian President


Offering Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid, a Sunni mosque in Hyderabad, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani sent out a strong message for the imperative need to end sectarian differences in Islam across the world. In India on a three-day visit, Mr Rouhani cited India as a successful example of the peaceful coexistence of various religions and ethnicities.

In his meeting with Muslim intellectuals, scholars and clerics in Hyderabad, the Iranian president denounced the attempts by the West to create fissures among the Muslim communities across the eastern world. He stressed on the need to embrace diplomatic solution to the troubles in the Middle East, instead of military solutions. Mr Rouhani is the first Iranian president to visit India after Mohammad Khatami’s pathbreaking trip in 2003.

“Iran wants unity, independence and support for the East. Iran wants fraternity with India. We do not want to have any differences with other countries as well,” he said.In Hyderabad, Mr Rouhani also visited the Qutub Shahi tombs complex, housing mausoleums of rulers of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty (1518-1687) who had Iranian lineage.

Modi-Rouhani talks

Accompanied by a 21-member delegation that includes ministers and business leaders, Mr Rouhani’s talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 17 will seek to consolidate bilateral relations and lay out a roadmap for advancing trade and investment and connectivity, especially the Chabahar port agreement. The Iranian president’s visit come at a crucial time when Iran faces the possibility of fresh sanctions in view of the US President Donald Trump’s hostility towards the Iran nuclear deal. The leaders of India and Iran will also discuss a cluster of regional and geopolitical issues, including the volatile situation in West Asia, the situation in Afghanistan and festering crises in Syria and Iraq.