March 25, 2023

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday welcomed the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to revive full-fledged diplomatic ties, saying that New Delhi has always advocated dialogue and diplomacy to resolve differences.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani talks with Minister of State and national security adviser of Saudi Arabia Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban during a meeting in Beijing, (VIA REUTERS)

The agreement between the West Asian rivals was brokered by Beijing, which hosted previously unannounced talks between top Saudi Arabian and Iranian security officials last week. The deal was unveiled through a trilateral announcement on Friday by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia and took diplomatic circles in New Delhi by surprise.

Asked about the agreement at a regular media briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi replied: “We have seen the reports in this regard. India has good relations with various countries in West Asia. We have deep abiding interests in that region.”

He added, “India has always advocated dialogue and diplomacy as a way to resolve differences.”

Bagchi didn’t comment on China’s role in bringing together Saudi Arabia and Iran and the ramifications of the move on the region.

India has often referred to West Asia as part of the country’s extended neighbourhood in view of energy supplies and the presence of an Indian diaspora of nearly nine million spread across Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other countries.

India has good relations with both Saudi Arabia, which is one of the country’s biggest energy suppliers, and with Iran, where a state-run Indian firm is involved in operating a terminal at the strategic Chabahar port.

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