As Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads out to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, he will hold talks with several world leaders to discuss and push forward India's relations with foreign countries - a hallmark of his first term in office. PM Modi is scheduled to meet Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday evening to "focus on how they intend to move forward" on the oil sanction imposed on Iran by the US.
This would be the first time the two leaders meet after PM Modi assumed the office of Prime Minister for the second time after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. A key aspect of the meeting is that former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier said that any decision on Iran and its oil imports by India would be taken after the elections, in light of the spill-over from the US' 'zero oil from Iran' policy amid the long-running US-Iran tensions which have escalated in Donald Trump's term in office. India had earlier been exempted from the US policy but clarity in the matter is awaited after the term of the exemption expired on May 2, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's upcoming visit perhaps serving as another opportunity to take decisive action.
Another key matter between India and Iran is the Chabahar port which is crucial to numerous stakeholders including Afghanistan as it provides an alternative to Pakistan and China's effective geographical blockade. The US is said to waive off the costs of construction and supply of essential material through this route as it sees through the strategic importance of the alternative.
US President Donald Trump and PM Modi are scheduled to meet at the sidelines of the G20 summit later on this month. At the SCO Summit, PM Modi will also meet a number of other key leaders such as China's Xi Jinping, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani. All eyes are expected to be on India's Prime Minister after his spectacular recent re-election in the world's largest democracy.