India, Iran agree to increase cooperation in tourism

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New Delhi, Apr 30 (UNI) Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni today said efforts would be made to expedite the signing of a Cultural Exchange Programme and an updated MoU on tourism between India and Iran as part of measures to increase people to people contact between the two countries.

The decision to sign the Cultural Exchange Programme came in the wake of a meeting between Ms Soni and Iranian Vice-President Estandiar Rahim Mashaei here.

Ms Soni said both the countries could benefit by sharing knowledge on conservation. She also suggested road shows by Indian travel agents and tour operators in Iran and said both the countries should offer affordable tour packages to increase tourist traffic from either country.

During their hour-long meeting, both sides agreed to increase cooperation in tourism and culture sectors between India and Iran.

Referring to the rich historical relations between the two countries, she said eople in India learn Persian as a language.

''The element of spiritualism in the lives of the people of the two countries make them different from others and bring them closer to each other because of this commonality.'' Ms Soni said that in the changed global scenario when everything centred round economic issues, the element of spirituality would infuse dignity and self-respect in one's life.

The Iranian leader, recalling the centuries old historical and traditional ties between the two countries, said that there was a need for enhanced cooperation.

He said Iran and India can work together in the field of conservation and research in Persian language. ''Mysticism, philosophy, mathematics and medicine are some of the areas where India and Iran have been working and can work further to strengthen the bilateral ties,'' he added.

Mr Mashaei said both the countries could play a meaningful role in the regional cooperation by working closely on issues which would bring peace and tranquility in the region.

UNI/SKS MIR KP2012

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