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Iran, India enjoy great potential for closer military cooperation: Hatami

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami (2nd R) and India’s Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat (2nd L) meet in Bangalore city on February 3, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami says the Islamic Republic and India enjoy great capacities to promote defense and military ties given the many commonalities that the two states share, including their position on various international issues.

Hatami made the remarks in a meeting on Wednesday with Indian Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat in the city of Bangalore, where he is attending Aeoro India 2021, the country’s premier aerospace and defense exhibition, at the invitation of New Delhi.

He said Tehran and New Delhi have cultural and historical commonalities, common approaches to many regional and international issues and geographical capacities, particularly in the Indian Ocean.

“These capacities can play a significant role in expanding the two countries’ relations, particularly in the defense and military sectors,” the Iranian defense chief said.

Rawat, for his part, hailed the current visit by the high-ranking Iranian defense delegation to India and its participation in the inauguration of the 13th edition of Aero India air show, saying this indicates that the two countries have the will to strengthen cooperation.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival on Tuesday, Hatami underlined the importance of mutual relations and said, “Iran and India are important countries in the region and have had stable ties over the years.”

He added that mutual relations are of particular importance due to India’s long coasts and Iran’s strategic location, especially in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

“The link between the Indian Ocean and the North-South Corridor and connection with the Central Asian states and the Caucasus are the grounds on which we need to pursue enhanced relations,” he said.

The Iranian minister took part in the opening ceremony of Aero India 2021, which started at an air force base in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Addressing reporters at the event, Hatami said the Islamic Republic has mastered manufacturing lightweight fighter jets and trainer aircraft besides a range of drones and helicopters thanks to the hard work of experts at home, and that the country is currently seeking to promote the technology used in them.

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami (2nd R) attends the opening ceremony of Aero India 2021 in Bangalore, February 3, 20201.

He added that the aerospace exhibition shows India is taking serious measures to bolster its aerial industry, and that the country is making use of its capabilities, especially those of the private sector, to achieve “impressive progress.”

On the sidelines of the annual of event, Hatami is set to attend and deliver a speech to the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defense Ministers’ Conclave, themed on ‘Enhanced Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Indian Ocean,’ later on Thursday.

Indian Air Force performs during the first day of the Aero India 2021 Airshow at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bangalore on February 3, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

In a statement on Wednesday, the Indian Defense Ministry said the conclave is an initiative to promote dialog in “an institutional, economic and cooperative environment” that can promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region.

As one of the largest states in the IOR, Iran has over the past years developed a powerful presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, which covers approximately one-fifth of the total ocean area of the world stretching between the southern tips of Africa and Australia.

The Islamic Republic’s naval forces usually hold military drills in the strategic waters with the aim of both bolstering its defense preparedness against potential enemy threats and promoting the security of international trade in the high seas.

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