Re­turn­ing the favour - Iran Ac­cords Pri­or­ity Sta­tus to In­dia for Trade


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Iran has ac­corded In­dia pri­or­ity sta­tus for trade and in­vest­ment in ac­knowl­edge­ment of the coun­try's sup­port dur­ing tough times when the United States and Euro­pean Union had im­posed eco­nomic and mil­i­tary sanc­tions on it.

In­dia is among the three coun­tries, along with Tur­key and China, with which Iran wants to col­lab­o­rate in seven sec­tors in­clud­ing min­ing, petro­chem­i­cals and food.

A del­e­ga­tion led by the Fed­er­a­tion of In­dian Ex­port Or­gan­i­sa­tions (FIEO) pres­i­dent, SC Ral­han, re­cently vis­ited Iran, while the Ira­nian min­is­ter for trade is ex­pected to visit In­dia next month.

The two na­tions are likely to have a joint con­sul­ta­tive meet­ing in Jan­uary next year to thrash out he de­tails of the pro­posed en­gage­ment.

“Iran wants to re­in­force its re­la­tion­ship with coun­tries which stood by it dur­ing its dif­fi­cult times. Hence, it is re­cip­ro­cat­ing by giv­ing pref­er­ence to them,” said Ajay Sa­hai, di­rec­tor gen­eral of FIEO.

In 2006-07, when the United States and the EU had im­posed sanc­tions on Iran, In­dia kept ex­port­ing com­modi­ties like rice, sugar and soy­bean, along with tex­tiles, and also im­port­ing crude oil in large quan­ti­ties.

Ear­lier this year, the gov­ern­ment had is­sued guide­lines to al­low third coun­try ex­ports of hu­man­i­tar­ian goods such as food, medicines and med­i­cal equip­ment to Iran as part of oil pay­ments due to that coun­try.

In 2014-15, In­dia's ex­ports to Iran stood at $4.17 bil­lion while the im­ports amounted to $8.95 bil­lion, an in­crease from $1.44 bil­lion and $7.61 bil­lion, re­spec­tively, dur­ing 2006-07.

Among other sec­tors, Iran is also look­ing at co­op­er­a­tion in agro-pro­cess­ing, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, steel and hotel­tourism. In­dia, on its part, is also eye­ing in­vest­ments in Ira­nian ports. Road trans­port, high­ways and ship­ping min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari has said that In­dia plans to in­vest al­most ` 2 lakh crore at Chaba­har port in Iran in var­i­ous in­fra­struc­ture projects.

In­dia has been in talks with Iran to set up a gas-based urea man­u­fac­tur­ing plant at the port which is be­ing de­vel­oped as both a strate­gic and eco­nomic as­set, ef­forts for which were ini­ti­ated in 2001 when the then Prime Min­is­ter Atal Bihari Va­j­payee vis­ited the Per­sian Gulf coun­try.

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