India plans to send a business delegation to Iran to hold talks aimed at increasing the volume of Tehran’s oil exports to New Delhi, a report says.
“We will need to lead a business delegation there, taking potential exporters across a range of sectors, and go out there and talk to their counterparts,” Reuters reported an anonymous Indian official as saying on Thursday.
According to the official, India could set up exports in a range of goods in return for wheat, industrial goods and jewelry.
“Traditional exports on the food category, which have always gone to Iran, have been orthodox tea and basmati rice. So those will continue.”
The Indian official added that the delegation would visit Tehran at the end of February.
India, the world’s fourth-largest petroleum consumer, is Iran’s second largest oil customer after China and purchases around $12 billion worth of Iranian crude every year, about 12 percent of its consumption.
After imposing sanctions against Iran’s oil and Central Bank on December 31, 2011, Washington has been trying to persuade emerging economies in Asia — Iran’s biggest oil market — to cut imports of petroleum from the country.
US sanctions require foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran’s Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.
Earlier this week, however, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee refuted US call for putting a ban on Iran oil, saying India would continue to buy Tehran’s oil despite sanctions.
“It is not possible for India to take any decision to reduce the imports from Iran drastically, because among the countries which can provide the requirement of the emerging economies, Iran is an important country amongst them.”
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