Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York.
ANI/Twitter

United Nations: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday and the two leaders discussed bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on the situation in the region.

"Giving an impetus to developmental cooperation with Iran. PM @narendramodi held talks with President @HassanRouhani in New York," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted after his meeting with the Iranian president on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session here.

Their meeting was keenly awaited as it comes amid escalating face-off between Iran and the United States on Tehran's nuclear programme. Iran is also accused by the US and its allies of attacking two key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, triggering a new round of tensions in the region.

The two leaders "discussed bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on the situation in the region," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

The two leaders could not hold a planned meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in June this year due to scheduling issues.

India, the world's third biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports. Iran was its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia till recently.

The six-month-long exemptions from US sanctions to India and seven other countries to buy oil from Iran expired on May 2 as Washington did not extend it.

Indo-Iran ties have been on a upswing in the past few years. Prime Minister Modi visited Tehran in May 2016 with an aim to craft a strategic relationship with Iran and expand India's ties with the West Asia.

During the visit, India and Iran signed nearly a dozen agreements, centrepiece of which was a deal on development of the strategic Chabahar port.

Later, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement providing for transport of goods among the three countries through the port.

In February 2018, Rouhani visited India, becoming the first Iranian President to visit India in a decade. During his visit, the two sides signed a dozen agreements.

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