New Delhi: India is all set to host Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later this week reasserting the growing ties between the two countries. The visit by Iranian president, first in years, is expected to strengthen New Delhi's relationship with the West Asian power house.
The three-day visit, upon the official invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will begin on Thursday February 15.
This is Rouhani's maiden visit to India since coming to power in August 2013.
In May last year, when Rouhani secured a landslide victory for the second time, India saw it as an ushering in of a democratic and moderate era.
Prime Minister Modi made a visit to Iran in May 2016, making it the first visit of an Indian prime minister to Iran after 15 years.
During Modi's visit, the two sides signed a $500-million deal to develop the Chabahar port to boost regional connectivity and encourage more maritime links and services between the two countries. The agreement also included funding of a rail link to Iran's southeastern city of Zahedan.
India, Iran and Afghanistan are also part of the Trilateral Agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor at Chabahar. India has massive plans to set up manufacturing plants in segments such as fertilisers, petrochemicals and metallurgy in the Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone.
During President Rouhani's visit, both sides might come to an amicable solution on the ongoing row regarding Farzad B gas fields, which has become a sore point in the bilateral ties between New Delhi and Tehran, observers believe.
When Modi had visited Iran, it was decided that a Heads of Agreement will be concluded by the end of 2016 that will push for the signing of the multi-billion dollar commercial contract for Farzad B. However, both sides are now engaged in a blame-game of sorts, while the contract is far from being negotiated.
The Modi government has paid sustained high-level attention to the Middle East since coming to office and the Prime Minister himself has already paid high-level visits to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and Iran in the last four years.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was in Saudi Arabia this week where India has been accorded the honour of being the "Guest of Honour" at the Janadriyah festival organized annually since 1985.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is also following Iranian head of state and visiting India later this year.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had a high profile visit to India last month.