TEHRAN: Defence minister

Rajnath Singh

on Saturday arrived in Tehran where he will meet his Iranian counterpart and discuss bilateral defence ties, a day after he urged the Persian Gulf countries to resolve their differences through dialogue based on mutual respect.

Singh arrived in Tehran from Moscow after concluding his three-day visit to Russia where he attended a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers. He also held bilateral talks with his counterparts from Russia, China and the Central Asian countries.

“Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh reached Tehran this evening. He will be meeting the Iranian Defence Minister (Brigadier General Amir Hatami) during his visit,” his office said in a tweet.

India on Friday said that it was “deeply concerned” about the situation in the Persian Gulf and called upon the countries in the region to resolve their differences by dialogue based on mutual respect.

A series of incidents in the Persian Gulf involving Iran, the US and the UAE in recent weeks have flared up tension in the region.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has reached Tehran this evening. He will be meeting the Iranian Defence Minister dur… https://t.co/eRuuvPTrh9

— ANI (@ANI) 1599325803000

“We are deeply concerned about the situation in the Persian Gulf,” Singh said in his address at a meeting of the SCO here.

“We call upon countries in the region – all of which are dear and friendly to India, to resolve differences by dialogue based on mutual respect, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of each other,” he said in his address at the combined meeting of defence ministers of the SCO, Collective Security Treaty Organisation and Commonwealth of Independent States member states.

Last month, Iranian navy briefly seized control of a Liberian-flagged oil tanker in what the US said were international waters near the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman to the south and the Arabian Sea beyond.

Iran has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the United States tries to strangle its economy.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.

The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability and security of the region.

Iran has observer status in the SCO, which was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005. Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc in 2017.

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