Iran's Rouhani to visit India this week

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is doe to leave for a visit to India, on Feb 15, 2018. PHOTO: AFP/IRANIAN PRESIDENCY

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will visit India this week for three days, local media reported on Monday (Feb 12).

Rouhani is due to leave for India on Thursday to discuss "the latest regional and global developments", the semi-official ISNA news agency said.

He was invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, ISNA said.

India and Iran have collaborated on key projects, most notably the Chabahar port in southeastern Iran that was inaugurated in December.

The port has been touted as a way for India to establish trade routes that bypass its rival Pakistan, but the project has seen multiple delays.

India has been a key purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and maintained trade ties even as international sanctions were imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme between 2012 and 2016.

However, there have been tensions in the relationship, with the Indian media reporting frustrations over delays in awarding a contract to develop a major gas field known as Farzad B in the Gulf.

That led India to announce it was reducing its oil imports from Iran in protest in March 2017, leading Teheran to say it was restricting credit lines to India.

The two countries have nonetheless sought to move beyond the spat, and have continued to seek partnerships, with India signing a preliminary agreement last month to help expand Iran's rail network, including expanding rail links to Chabahar.

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