Iranian delegation to visit India for trade talks
Tehran: An Iranian mission will start a six- day trip to India on Sunday for talks to promote trade ties with the South Asian country, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
The delegation''s trip, covering New Delhi and Mumbai, is aimed at expanding trade relations and exploring "new avenues of mutual cooperation" with India, said the report.
During the visit, Tehran Chamber of Commerce is due to sign several memorandums of understanding with the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India as well as Indian export organizations.
According to the report, India buys around 11 billion US dollars worth of oil from Iran every year, making Iran its second largest crude oil supplier after Saudi Arabia. However, India only sells Iran 2.7 billion US dollars in goods every year.
Iran and India have worked out a deal, under which New Delhi pays for almost half of its Iranian oil imports in rupees, and the rupee payments will be used by Iran to buy Indian goods. By this means, both countries hope to achieve the bilateral trade target of 25 billion US dollars over the next four years.
Meanwhile, media reports said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in India on Sunday for a two-day visit, is seeking to persuade India to reduce its oil imports from Iran.
The reports said that India, under the pressure of the United States, has recently increased imports of oil from Saudi Arabia, a move aiming to make up for its potential reduction of oil imports from Iran.
The US government has slapped a series of sanctions on Iran, targeting its central bank and oil exports, in an attempt to press Tehran to halt its uranium enrichment activities.