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Iranian Majlis speaker on India visit, to meet PM

Posted on Feb 25, 09:54PM | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 25 : Speaker of the Iranian parliament (Majlis) Ali Larijani is visiting India and is likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, said diplomatic sources.

Larijani's visit is at the invitation of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who visited Iran in the latter part of 2011.

The Majlis speaker is currently in Mumbai and will arrive in New Delhi Tuesday, a diplomatic source told IANS.

"Larijani will meet the Indian prime minister on Wednesday," the source said.

The Majlis speaker is also to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, the source added.

Asked what would be on the agenda for talks, the source declined to divulge details.

Before leaving for his India trip, which concludes on Thursday, Larijani on Sunday described India as one of the leading players in the region and said that both countries have long-standing parliamentary relations.

"Today India is one of the important economies of the region and the visit by the Iranian parliamentary delegation to the country is aimed at strengthening parliamentary relations," Larijani said, according to Iranian media.

Besides President Mukherjee, Manmohan Singh and Khurshid, Larijani is to meet National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Rajya Sabha chairperson Mohammad Hamid Ansari on the expansion of political and trade interactions between Tehran and New Delhi, Iran's Press TV said.

The two sides are also to discuss regional and international issues of interest such as Afghanistan, the campaign against illicit drug trafficking and war on terrorism, it said.

Larijani, during a meeting with Indian Ambassador D.P. Srivastava, had underlined the need for enhancement of bilateral relations and cooperation between Tehran and New Delhi in various areas.

Srivastava described talks on regional issues between Iranian and Indian officials as constructive, and said Larijani's upcoming visit to India would be an important step toward the expansion of friendly relations between the two countries, Press TV said.