Modi's Tehran trip to boost Iran-India trade ties

Modi's Tehran trip to  boost Iran-India trade ties

 Energy cooperation, connectivity and Indian companies’ return to hydrocarbon projects in Iran will dominate the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2-day visit to Tehran from May 22.

Modi will call on Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. He will also meet Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic. Modi’s visit will  be the first by an Indian prime minister after the United Nations, United States and European Union started easing sanctions on Iran in July 2015 following its nuclear deal with E3+3 (US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany).

Officials in New Delhi told DH that Modi’s visit to Tehran might see progress on New Delhi’s proposal for allowing ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) to develop the Farzad B gas field in Iran. The OVL, along with Oil India Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited, had earlier invested about $ 100 million in Farzad-B gas field, but production could not be started as Indian companies found it difficult to stay engaged in hydrocarbon sector due to sanctions imposed by US and European Union. New Delhi, however, last year conveyed to Tehran Indian PSUs’ interest to return to the project after sanctions were eased last year. Tehran was initially not keen to give it back to the OVL without a bidding process, but New Delhi claimed to have made some progress in its discussions with Tehran.

Modi and Rouhani earlier met at Ufa in Russia on July 9 last year on the sideline of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting.

A few weeks back, Modi’s government approved proposal of the Ministry of Shipping for provision and operationalisation of credit of $ 150 million from the EXIM Bank for development of Chabahar Port in south-eastern coast of Iran. India will equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.

The Chabahar Port will give India a sea-land access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. India, Afghanistan and Iran had finalised a trilateral transport and transit deal, which would allow Indian exporters utilise the Chabahar Port and besides giving access to markets in Afghanistan through Zahedan in the West Asian country.

Improving ties

Modi’s visit will be the first by an Indian prime minister
The prime minister’s visit to Tehran might see progress on New Delhi’s proposal for allowing ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) to develop the Farzad B gas field in Iran

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