Iranian Deputy FM, Indian Officials Explore Ways for Developing Economic Ties

Iranian Deputy FM, Indian Officials Explore Ways for Developing Economic Ties

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Mehdi Safari during a visit to India this week held meetings with the South Asian country’s high-ranking economic officials, discussing obstacles and challenges faced by the two sides in their economic cooperation.

He also explored ways of expanding relations and areas of cooperation between Tehran and New Delhi and their private companies.

Hot on the heels of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdolalhian’s visit to India and his official and popular meetings in New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, a high-ranking economic delegation on Monday flew to India for the purpose of pursuing Amirabdolalhian’s talks and pushing the agenda of the Iran-India relations with an emphasis on economic and trade ties.

During the 2-day trip, Safari held negotiations with some ministers, deputy ministers and heads of key economic institutions of India as well as companies active in trade, economic, technological, transportation, industrial and energy fields, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website reported.

The other members of the Iranian delegation were the director of the Plant Protection Organization, the deputy of Ports and Shipping Organization, the economic deputy of the Secretariat of the Supreme Council of Free Trade Zones, the head of Chabahar Free Zone Organization, Pasargad Bank’s director for Investment and Foreign Assets and the CEO of Ranak Banking Technology Company.

At the beginning of the trip, the public meetings of the two deputy foreign ministers and their entourage were meant to raise issues and problems and also to look into ways of resolving them and expanding trade and economic cooperation. Meanwhile, at the end of the visit, summing up the results and drawing a roadmap for relations were the most important parts of the agenda of the delegation.

Indian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Damo Ravi referred to the emphasis of the two heads of government on strengthening cooperation and also to the recent visit by Iran’s foreign minister that paved the way for this purpose. He described the meetings of the economic official of the Foreign Ministry and his entourage in India as “very good”. Ravi stressed the transit cooperation between Iran and India and the huge potential of this field, saying, “We are able to continue cooperation and consultations, resolve the existing problems and boost trade between the two countries considerably.”

Safari also thanked the India side for their hospitality. He pointed to the constructive and positive talks between the two sides over transportation as well as port, financial, agricultural and other types of cooperation. Safari invited his Indian counterpart to visit Iran and expressed hope that before the visit, the two countries will witness the fulfillment of their potential for cooperation, the realization of the negotiations between them and also the current exchange of delegations.

During his meeting with the Indian shipping minister and deputy minister in which talks were held over port cooperation and the development process of Chabahar Port, Safari also underlined the need for the Indian side to fulfill its commitment to commission installations put in place in Shahid Beheshti Port of Chabahar.

The other topics discussed were the efforts by the two sides to increase shipments transfer through Chabahar, investment by Indian companies in the Chabahar Free Zone and finalizing the long-term and temporary deals at the port.

In a meeting with India’s deputy Minister of Oil and Natural Gas, Safari referred to long ties between the two countries in the area and India’s independent policy in political and economic spheres in line with its national interests. He announced Iran’s readiness to meet India’s energy needs and reviewed ways of resuming cooperation to this end. Safari also invited the Indian official to visit Iran for the continuation of talks.

It is worth noting that in addition to the major and group meetings, the other economic officials in the delegation also held separate talks with their Indian counterparts. Among others, in the agricultural sector, the deputy agriculture ministers of Iran and India held several meetings in which they looked into some problems concerning quarantine and plant health. They also reviewed obstacles in the way of expanding agricultural trade between the two countries. Alaei Moghaddam, Director of the Iranian Plant Protection Organization, also visited the regional plant quarantine center in New Delhi.

During this trip, the officials of the agriculture ministries of Iran and India reached an agreement on the formation of a joint working group tasked with pursuing and implementing deals in the fields of agriculture, trade and transit of crops through Iran, exchange of experiences, technical know-how and educational cooperation in the fields of agriculture and plant health and also cooperation between the quarantine centers of Iran and India.

As for port and navigation cooperation, the representatives of the Organization of Ports and Free Zones of Iran held a separate meeting with officials of the Indian shipping ministry and the Indian brokering company operating in Shahid Beheshti Port of Chabahar. In the meeting, the two sides discussed operational steps to commission the installations put in place in the port, supply of other necessary equipment, to encourage the private sectors of India and Iran to participate in the future plans for cooperation and investment in the Chabahar and Makran Free Zones.

In the financial sector, too, the Iranian banking officials met with officials of the Indian ministry of finance. In the meeting, they exchanged views over resolution of some impediments to cooperation between the two sides and also the use of new banking technologies for the purpose of increasing financial exchanges and reached some important agreements.

In the summing up meeting of the economic delegations of the two sides during the trip, they expressed pleasure at their success in making important achievements (including in the fields of banking, energy, agriculture and transportation as well as the free zones and Chabahar). The two sides also underlined the necessity of swiftly and steadily pursuing issues and planning of periodic meetings between the relevant authorities of Iran and India in order to further advance economic, trade and investment ties and also to use regional transit routes, especially the potential of the north-south transportation corridor, which have been emphasized by the heads of the two governments.

It is expected that the recent exchanges of views between the economic delegations will be followed by visits to Iran by, among others, India’s minister of ports and shipping and other Indian economic officials in the coming weeks. This will pave the road for the holding of the 20th joint economic commission of the two countries in the second half of this year and also for visits by economic and commercial delegations of the public and private sectors of Iran and India.