Iran, India to diversify channels of payments to expand trade: envoy

May 31, 2022 - 10:52

TEHRAN- Iran and India are trying to diversify the channels of payments to expand the bilateral trade, Iranian ambassador to India stated.

In an exclusive interview with Financial Express Online, Ali Chegeni said, “We are trying to diversify the channels of payments and accordingly wish to extend and expand an already existing mechanism in order to cover all of the goods and services including all of non – oil goods and to achieve this”.

During the past two years, because of Covid restrictions, we pursue the issue via virtual dialogues and currently our officials are following the matter through the exchange of delegations, the envoy stated.

Answering to a question that if Iran is ready to export crude oil to India, the ambassador said that Iran has always been a reliable energy partner to its customers and is ready to resume its normal export of its oil, gas and petrochemical products to international markets. To India, Iran has also been a major exporter of oil until imposition of illegal, brutal and unilateral sanctions.

In the current situation and after the recent events which has had some impacts on oil and gas market, and henceforth the intense increase in oil global prices, countries like India urgently need to diversify the suppliers, and without any doubt, Iran can play a significant role in meeting parts of the needs and requirements of the global market, he added.

It is worth noting that the exportation of Iran oil has never been disrupted and we are still selling our oil to the customers. More importantly, current oil supply shortages make Iran oil even more indispensable than before. Indian companies either from the public or private sectors are also fully aware of Iran’s capacities and readiness in this respect and of course, it is upon them to take forward the necessary steps, the envoy stated.

“We want to develop our economic and trade relations beyond energy and petrochemical products. Since due to the complementarity of Iran and India economies, an extensive range of non – oil trade exists between two sides including trade on goods and services, investment, tourism, education and … which may pave the way for multiplying our economic relations ten times more than current relations in mid and long terms”, Chegeni said.

It’s worth noting that Iran as an old friend of India never participated in any sanction against it and accordingly the reasonable, least expectation of Iranian people is to see the same act from their Indian friends, he further underlined.

In terms of Iran-India cooperation in development of Iran’s Chabahar Port and the railway line that was under discussion with India, the Iranian ambassador said, “Let me begin by answering the second part of your question. More than 70 percent of the Chabahar – Zahedan railway has been finished and is ready for utilization. The remaining part has still been advanced by Iran authorities and certainly it will be completed soon with or without the other’s participation. However, we would rather terminate this project with the close association of our Indian friends particularly in developing superstructure equipment.”

“On Chabahar Port, first of all, I should underline the great extent of the recent developments as such we cannot view Chabahar solely as a port and it is better to name it a “zone” in order to consider its vastness and the great facilities embedded in it”, he answered.

Moreover, Chabahar port is not limited to itself and indeed it is a small but of course important part of INSTC which connects Caucasus, Eurasia, central Asia and south Asia landlocked countries to the Indian Ocean. Regarding this, various countries have announced their readiness to cooperate with Iran in developing this project and in fact Iran has begun its collaboration with several countries like Russia and Azerbaijan, he explained.

“Two grand ports of Chabahar, meaning Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari have been operationalized and IPGL Company of India is installing some superstructures in Shahid Beheshti dockyard and ships actually use both ports to load and unload their convoys. In this regard we have witnessed the significant multiplication of transportation capacities during the last three years. By these potentials and capabilities, we are sure Chabahar will be much more active and operational than before”, the ambassador further highlighted.

Recently the Indian Government appointed a new active team for IPGL in Shahid Beheshti port of Chabahar that is a good signal to promote the activities and quality of services for said company in its functions, he announced.

“Despite these great achievements, both countries’ leaders expect us to speed up our efforts and hence we must accelerate our activities to end the project as fast as possible, particularly in an urgent situation in which we witness rapid regional and global changes”, he said, adding, “For instance the credit line which has been pledged by India for financing Chabahar related projects has not been fully realized yet. Naturally by preparation of the mentioned infrastructure in near future, Indian friends can contribute in developing the railroad by supplying the required superstructure equipment.”

In this regard, the exchange visits of different officials and high-ranking delegations of the two countries will be a great opportunity to find ways to accelerate the process of cooperation as well as to promote the use of this “golden gateway” for both countries and the region, the envoy concluded.

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