Urmas Reinsalu to meet foreign ministers of India, Iran in New Delhi ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Urmas Reinsalu
Urmas Reinsalu Source: ERR

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) is in India on Wednesday and Thursday, attending a high-level geo-political conference, in New Delhi. As well as presenting Estonia's experience in holding a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC), which India is vying for in 2021, Reinsalu will also meet several of his counterparts from other countries, including the Iranian foreign minister.

The conference, called the Raisina Dialogue, is analogous to Estonia's own annual Lennart Meri conference; according to the foreign minister it will provide an opportunity to foster closer relations with India, a country with a strategic importance in the region and a crucial role in global issues.

"It is one of the most important partners for Estonia in terms of security as well as business," Reinsalu said ahead of the conference, according to a ministry press release.

"It is one of the most important partners for Estonia in terms of security as well as business," Reinsalu said ahead of the conference, according to a ministry press release.

Reinsalu will be among the keynote speakers on January 16, with his presentation focusing on Estonia's two-year stint on the UNSC which started at the beginning of the year.

On the sidelines of the conference, the minister is to meet with his counterparts from India, Iran, the Maldives, South Africa and Uzbekistan, and the national security adviser of Afghanistan. The foreign ministers will also have a joint meeting with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.

"With the foreign minister of Iran, we will discuss bilateral relations and regional issues. It is certainly Estonia's interest that the situation de-escalates and that Iran stays in the nuclear agreement," the foreign minister said, in the aftermath of the U.S. drone strike which killed a high-ranking Iranian general in Iraq, retaliatory Iranian missile strikes on two military bases which host U.S. and allied troops, including some Estonians, and the missile strike which downed a Ukrainian Airlines passenger plane, with the loss of all 176 people on board.

On the agenda at the meeting with his Indian opposite number is cybersecurity and digital cooperation, as well as the UNSC.

"Estonian entrepreneurs are busy establishing themselves in India, and at the same time, many [Estonian] e-residents hail from India. There is a lot of potential for an even closer cooperation," he said.

The Raisina Dialogue is an annual conference in India focusing on key international issues. The conference is organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the Ministry of External Affairs of India. The last visit by an Estonian foreign minister to India was in February 2013.

As reported on ERR News, the foreign ministry in Estonia said a bilateral meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, also attending the conference, is not on the cards, at least not at Estonia's request. Lavrov is arriving and leaving earlier than Reinsalu, and a lack of diary space was given as a reason for the pair missing each other.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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