Iran’s launch of ‘Look East’ 2.0

Al-Monitor | Tehran hosted national security and deputy national security advisers from China, India, Russia and Afghanistan on Sept. 26, in what was billed as the first Regional Security Dialogue. According to Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, the one-day meeting, initiated by Iran, primarily aimed at “finding joint measures for fighting terrorism and preventing its spread to Central Asia, with a focus on Afghanistan.” The final communique, however, suggested a broader agenda than just Afghanistan.

Also included were efforts ranging from fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria to promoting trade and economic cooperation among the parties. It was also announced that the participants had agreed to establish a secretariat and to hold annual meetings at the same level on a rotating basis. As such, it could be said that Iran’s initiative has already been successful in forming a new multilateral framework, at least at the official level.

After taking a closer look at the agreements reached at the gathering, especially with regard to the broader regional and international framework of the dialogue, one could reasonably argue that the initiative reflects Iran’s changing perspective on the issue of regionalism as well as a new outlook on its relations with China and Russia.

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