Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu Friday proposed to double bilateral trade with Iran in the next five years from the current level of USD 13.8 billion, an official said. The official also said Prabhu’s scheduled visit to Tehran on October 2 has been postponed for some reasons. He was to attend the ministerial meeting of the International North South Transport Corridor.
Ways to boost trade and investment between the two countries were discussed during a meeting between Prabhu and Iranian Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi here.
The meeting assumes significance as the US has imposed sanctions on the Persian Gulf country. The US has also told India and other countries to cut oil imports from Iran to zero by November 4 or face sanctions.
After the meeting of the two ministers, Prabhu tweeted: “Our discussions were centered on expanding bilateral ties between India and Iran beyond the energy and security sector.”
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ganesh Gupta had recently said the government needs to look into the problems being faced by exporters shipping consignments to Iran in view of the US sanctions.
Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil between April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of fiscal 2017-18).
Bilateral trade between India and Iran increased to USD 13.8 billion in 2017-18 from USD 12.9 billion in the previous fiscal. However, India’s exports goods worth only USD 2.65 billion to that country, while the imports stood at USD 11.11 billion.