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Foreign Affairs

Iranian cleric: Iran-India relations beyond diplomatic ties

New Delhi, Feb 17 - Head of Iran's Supreme Leader office in India Mahdi Mahdavipur elaborated on deep roots of historical relations between Iran and India stressing that interactions between the two nations were beyond diplomatic ties.

Mahdavipur made the remarks while addressing a gathering of Shia and Sunni ulema (religious leaders) in the city of Hyderabad on the occasion of the visit of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the city.

Stressing the role of the Indian Muslim scholars in spreading and promoting the holy religion of Islam in the sub-continent, the cleric said, 'Muslim scholars in India have always kept the torch of Islam alight and guarded our religion in India.'

Highlighting three outstanding characteristics of the Indian Muslim Ulema, Mahdavipur referred to the first two as their robust belief in unity and their ceaseless efforts to respect existence of different religions and promote the culture of reflection, solidarity, and cooperation that has been institutionalized among the people of India.

He further noted that love of the Indian Muslim Ulema for the Holy Household of the Islamic Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is also exemplary.

'Every year, meetings are held abundantly as a declaration of dedication to the Ahlul Bayt family throughout India. Empathy for the Ahlul- Bayt is not specific to Muslims, but some Hindus, Sikhs and other Hindu followers are also dedicated to the Ahlul-Bayt. Ashura, is considered as a holiday in India,' said the cleric.

Mahdavipur pointed to 'love for Iran' as the third characteristic of Indian Muslim Ulema and scholars.

'We are witnessing a wide range of Iranian culture in India. No country like Iran has its own works and culture in India. In the past eight centuries, many scholars, artists and prominent Iranian people have traveled to India. After the Islamic Revolution of Iran [1979], there is a love for [the late] Imam Khomeini and Islamic Revolution among the people of India.

'On the anniversary of Imam Khomeini's demise, several great circles are held in India as the memorial of the leader of the Iranian [Islamic] Revolution,' Mahdavipur said.

He said the fact that President Rouhani's visit to India started from Hyderabad in south of the country, had a cultural message which highlights the deeply-rooted and centuries-old links between Muslims in India and Iran.

President Rouhani began his three-day visit to India by arriving in Hyderabad on Thursday evening.

Considering the scope of Iran's presence in the Indian sub-continent, Mahdavipur proposed establishment of an institute in India by Iran which would produce and preserve documents and proofs of Iran-India cultural ties.

President Rouhani left Hyderabad for New Delhi on Friday evening.

He received an official welcome by India's Prime Minister Narendar Modi in New Delhi Saturday morning.

His visit is taking place at the official invitation of Prime Minister Modi.

President Rouhani is to sign about 15 documents in trade and economic sectors with Indian officials.

The two sides will also issue a statement on political issues as well.

Iran and India will also sign documents on consular services sector including of easier visa issuance regulations.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency

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