India announces State mourning on death of Ebrahim Raisi President of Iran

Respect for the late President of Iran, national mourning in India today; China-Pakistan pressure remained ineffective

The Indian government has announced a day of national mourning on Tuesday over the death of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian and seven others in a helicopter crash. The national flag will fly at half-mast on all government buildings across the country on this day.

The sudden death of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash is a big loss for India as well. It was Raisi who cleared the way for handing over the Chabahar port to India despite pressure from China and Pakistan. Not only this, despite Iran being an Islamic country, Raisi always supported the Indian stand on the Kashmir issue.

India has signed a 10-year contract with Iran last week for the operation and development of Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar. This port gives India access to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. Ever since China has established its foothold in Gwadar port in Pakistan, it has become strategically important for India to be present in Chabahar to protect its trade interests in the Arabian Sea. In 2003, for the first time, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between India and Iran for the development and operation of this port. But, for two decades, the long-term agreement for operating from the port remained pending due to various reasons. In 2017, India built a terminal at Beheshti port and started operating it. But, the long-term agreement was signed in 2024.

Even though Iran’s power and foreign policy are in the hands of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, but his loyalists like Raisi also influence these policies with their personality in a certain sphere. Raisi, who is sensitive towards Indian interests, found a scope to increase relations from this sphere. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was in a state of uncertainty regarding the Chabahar agreement with India. Due to this, for two decades, no President of Iran showed much interest in taking this agreement forward. But, when Raisi became President, Iran was in a difficult situation, where it needed India’s cooperation. It is also not a secret that despite US sanctions, India has been giving necessary economic relief to Iran by buying oil from it. Raisi also showed determination regarding this agreement and this agreement came into effect only a few months after Raisi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met during the BRICS summit in South Africa last year.