India Stands with Iran: PM Modi Mourns President Raisi’s Fatal Helicopter Crash

    Indian leadership is heavy-hearted to learn of the passing of Raisi, President of Iran. India-Iran bilateral relations will always be acknowledged.

    Indian leadership is heavy-hearted to learn of the passing of Dr. Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His contribution to the India-Iran bilateral relations will always be acknowledged. India is with Iran in this moment of grief, said PM Modi.

    A helicopter carrying Raisi and other officials including Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian crashed on Sunday in the Dizmar forest in East Azarbaijan Province Iranian media reported. There were no survivors on the helicopter.

    The External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also expressed condolences on the death of Raisi calling it ‘shocking’. India has declared one day of mourning on May 21 throughout the country in respect of the dead.

    Raisi is 63 years of age and was elected President of Iran in August 2021 and was considered a possible successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who is 85 years of age and the Supreme Leader of Iran.

    India-Iran relations

    Modi last met Raisi in August 2023 before the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. India backed Iran in its membership of the group BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). Iran was accepted into the intergovernmental organization in September 2023 during the BRICS summit in South Africa.

    Indian and Iran have a rich history and cultural relationship. India has nurtured good relations with many countries in the region including Iran which shares a border with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The two nations enhanced their bilateral trade relations after Raisi became President in 2021. In 2022-23, Iran was India’s 59th largest trading partner with the two countries clocking bilateral trade of $2. 33 billion. Statistics show that India’s trade with Iran rose by 21%. 77 per cent — from $1. 94 billion in 2021-22 to $2. 33 billion in 2022-23.

    “India views Iran as a stabilizing force in the Persian Gulf and this is why military and security cooperation between the two states are on the rise,” Jayanth Jacob a foreign policy analyst stated in a recent article for Deccan Herald.

    Not Much Change Expected

    India was one of the few countries invited to attend the oath-taking of President Ebrahim Raisi in August 2021. However, Iranian experts said that Raisi’s death will not change much because the basic patterns of Iran’s foreign policy are defined not so much by the President as by the Supreme Leader of Iran.

    Iran under President Raisi adopted a ‘look east’ policy of strengthening relations with Asian countries, especially India. The continued momentum on the regional connectivity projects involving India, especially on the INSTC and Chabahar port, further reflects Iran’s strategic perception of its relationship with India. ” Deepika Saraswat Associate Fellow, New Delhi-based Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.



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