Iran and India, old civilizations with thousands-year-old record of cooperation

IRNA - Iran, India relations date back to thousands of years ago, two Asian countries that have set sights on developing their relationships further at a time when Iran is looking east rather than west.

Iran has always looked at the vast Asian country as a potential billion-strong market.

Both countries have been keen on expanding their cultural, political and trade ties since they established diplomatic relations on 15 March 1950.

During much of the Cold War period, relations between the Republic of India and Iran suffered due to their different political interests—non-aligned India fostered strong military links with the Soviet Union, while Iran enjoyed close ties with the United States.

However, following the 1979 revolution, relations between Iran and India strengthened momentarily.

 In the 1990s, India and Iran supported the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against the Taliban regime.

They continue to collaborate in supporting schemes that would benefit the whole region. The two countries signed a defense cooperation agreement in December 2002.

Iran has been under virtually constant sanctions since its 1979 revolution which toppled the Western-allied Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and created the Islamic Republic.

Iran sees India as a great business partner that can provide a breathing room for it under the US coercive economic measures.

Before implementing the sanctions, India had enjoyed an advantageous trading relationship with Iran under which New Delhi paid for oil in rupees which Tehran used to buy Indian goods.

Energy-hungry India can not turn a blind eye on Iran's crude which is suitable for many of its refineries.

India has many interests in maintaining stable trade relations with Iran as it can sell much of its rice and sugar to this country of more than 80 million people.

Also, Iran's strategic oceanic Chabahar Port on the Sea of Oman is the key for India to expand into Central Asia and Europe.

India has leased Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar for 10 years to easily export to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan, that has been its arch-rival.

India should fully benefit from this breathing room that Iran has given it and continue good trade relations with Iran.

Politically, both countries share many similar viewpoints and have had convergent positions on issues such as the war in Afghanistan.

The two countries, as two of the world's most brilliant ancient civilizations, which up to seven decades ago shared a long borderline as neighbors,  

Bedil, the Indian poet that wrote in Persian, the language of Royal Court of the time, also links the two nations culturally.

Even though he is known as a master of Persian poetry, Bīdel was actually of Turkic Central Asian descent, his family originally belonging to the Arlās tribe of the Chaghatay, regarded by some as part of the Uzbek people. He was born in Azīmābād, present-day Patna in India.

Bīdel mostly wrote Ghazal and Rubayee (quatrain) in Persian, the language of the Royal Court, which he had learned since childhood.

He is considered as one of the prominent poets of the Indian School of Poetry in Persian literature and owns his unique Style in it. Both Mirza Ghalib and Iqbal-i Lahori were influenced by him.

His poetry plays a major role in Indo-Persian classical music of central Asia as well.

With many political and cultural similarities, the two countries need to further develop their relations, especially their trade ties.

by: Vahide Dindari

1424**

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