Economy, Domestic Economy

Iran, India Hold Talks on Re-Energizing Ties

Iran, India Hold Talks on Re-Energizing TiesIran, India Hold Talks on Re-Energizing Ties

India and Iran held extensive discussions on key bilateral and regional issues, including security, energy and connectivity, in New Delhi last week as India looked at re-energizing its ties with Tehran after the lifting of sanctions by the western countries against it.

During the 13th round of India-Iran Foreign Office Consultations, which was chaired by India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Iranian Deputy Minister for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour, the two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral ties, Indian newspaper Business Standard reported.

Apart from taking stock of cooperation in the fields of connectivity and energy, the two discussed security issues and regional development.

“Iran is an important economic and security space for us as also among most important sources of energy,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

“After the lifting of sanctions against Tehran, New Delhi was looking at re-energizing ties with its longstanding partner.”

According to official sources, they also discussed the possibility of a Preferential Trade Arrangement and India’s participation in the Farzad B gas block.

Under pressure from the US and other western powers, India had relegated its second biggest oil supplier by cutting down purchases from 21.2 million tons in 2009-10 to 11 million tons in 2013-14. Imports have been of that order in the last three years.

Indian firms have so far shied away from investing in Iran for the fear of sanctions by the US and Europe. It was deterring New Delhi from claiming rights to invest nearly $7 billion in the biggest gas discovery ever made by an Indian firm abroad.

But after the lifting of sanctions, India is making a renewed pitch for rights to develop 12.8 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves ONGC Videsh Ltd had found in 2008.

Noting that the first phase of Chabahar Port’s contract was in final stages of negotiation, they also hoped for an early conclusion of the contract.

They also discussed a possible Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.