New Delhi, April 29, IRNA -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after ending his visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka, arrived in New Delhi, as the head of a political, economic and cultural delegation, for talks with his Indian counterpart and other officials of India.
Ahmadinejad was welcomed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi by Ambassador Syed Mahdi Nabizadeh, Raza Alaaee charge d'affaires, Indian officials, representatives of Iranian students and a group of media persons.
He is accompanied by his senior advisor Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, Vice President and Head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Commerce Minister Masood Mir Kazemi and several other officials of different ministries.
Ahmadinejad, during his brief stay will meet his Indian counterpart Mrs. Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and attend the banquet to being given in his honor.
The Iranian president will hold a press conference in New Delhi before leaving for Tehran.
Indian press have published news, reports and articles over the past few days about the aims and objectives and importance of President Ahmadinejad's visit to India. The Indian political, social, cultural circles and people of different walks of life have welcomed this visit.
Nabizadeh, Iranian ambassador in New Delhi said that trade exchange between India and Iran has crossed 9 billion dollar and it has shown growth in comparison with last year.
Trade exchange between the two countries will increase three to four fold after the implementation of Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, he added.
The Iranian president made the remark while addressing the staff of the Sapugaskande refinery after he inaugurated a 1.2-billion-dollar project largely funded by Tehran to upgrade Sri Lanka's sole oil refinery.
The bullying powers will someday collapse while peace, friendship, and justice are lasting, he added.
Putting into operation of Iran-Sri Lanka joint projects would open a new chapter in the two countries' bilateral relations, the president noted.
The two Iranian and Sri Lankan nations are interested in independence, freedom and development, he said, stressing that Tehran supports all peace-seeking, justice-loving and independent nations of the world.
Condemning the atrocity of the Zionist regime in the occupied lands and regretting the massacre of a large number of innocent women and children there, the Iranian president regretted that the bullying powers do not let the defenseless Palestinians live in peace and tranquility.
President Ahmadinejad and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse planted an ebony sapling to launch work at the Sapugaskande refinery, just outside the capital Colombo.
The four-year upgrade will triple Sri Lanka's refinery capacity to 150,000 barrels per day from the current 50,000 barrels.
Iran, which supplies 70 percent of Sri Lanka's oil needs, has agreed to pay 700-million-dollars of the upgrade cost, petroleum minister A.H.M. Fowzie said at the ceremony.
He said it would make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in production of aviation fuel and tar.
Bad weather, however, prevented the Iranian president from inaugurating the Tehran-funded 450-million-dollar Uma Oya irrigation project in Wellawaya, southeast of Colombo.
Work on the hydro power project was instead launched by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and senior officials from the Iranian delegation.
Once completed in four years, the hydro power project will add 100 megawatts to the national grid, officials said.
The Iranian president wound up his visit to Sri Lanka Tuesday afternoon and left for New Delhi, India on the third and last leg of this three-nation regional tour which had previously taken him to Pakistan.
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