Ummid Assistant

IDB scholarship forms available at Bhopal's Companion School

IGNOU's preparatory course for students desiring higher education

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » International

Manmohan set for high-wire diplomacy in Iran: Oil, trade, Syria on agenda

Sunday August 12, 2012 06:41:57 PM, Manish Chand, IANS

New Delhi: In a visit laden with immense symbolic significance, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heads to Iran Aug 28 to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, a trip that is expected to not only reinforce India's enduring commitment to the movement but also underline New Delhi's strategic intent to deepen ties with sanctions-hit Tehran.

This will be the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Iran in over a decade since Atal Bihari Vajpayee's trip in 2001.

The visit is primarily for the 120-member NAM summit Aug 30-31, but the prime minister is also poised to hold a slew of high-profile bilateral meetings on the sidelines. There is a strong possibility of Manmohan Singh meeting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, but this crucial meeting would only be finalized a few days before the summit, reliable sources said.

The highlight of the visit will be Manmohan Singh's bilateral talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a pariah for the Western powers which accuse him of developing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.

The two sides are currently in the process of firming the agenda, but reliable sources indicated that the two leaders are expected to discuss a wide array of bilateral and regional issues.

On the bilateral track, the modus operandi of payments for Iranian oil imports amid tightening Western sanctions are sure to figure in the discussions. Despite Western pressure, India has continued importing Iranian oil and has cited its importance for India's energy security, but has cut down its imports from 12 percent to around 10-11 percent.

A few months ago, India sealed an agreement for paying 45 percent of its oil imports from Iran in rupees. However, after the US and the EU sanctions came into effect over a month ago, shipments have become difficult with not many insurance companies willing to provide transportation cover.

India is also expected to ask Iran to buy more wheat and other commodities to bridge a massive trade deficit, which currently favours Tehran, sources said.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), bilateral trade between India and Iran can touch $30 billion by 2015 from the current $13.7 billion.

Another tricky issue that is set to figure in the talks is about the accusation of Iran's complicity in an attack on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi in February. Iran has denied any link but has agreed to a visit by a Delhi Police team to pursue leads in the investigation.

On the strategic plane, the two sides will explore possibilities of working closely on Afghanistan in view of the withdrawal of international combat troops by 2014. India partnered with Iran and Russia to back the Northern Alliance in 2001 that toppled the Taliban regime. Clearly, an ascendant Taliban is a common enemy of both New Delhi and Tehran.

"Given the importance of Afghanistan for India, Iran is a crucial strategic partner as it provides us access through Chabahar into Afghanistan," P.S. Haer, a former ambassador of India to Iran, told IANS. Ishrat Aziz, a former diplomat who had key postings in the West Asian region, agreed: "Iran is a gateway to Central Asia and is necessary for maintaining our relations with Afghanistan."

Defying Western sanctions, India recently used Chabahar port in southeastern Iran for the first time to transport 100,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan. India will also be pushing to fast-track a 900-km long rail line from the Zabul iron ore mines in southern Afghanistan to the Iranian port.

Above all, the visit will assuage doubts about India's commitment to nurturing and developing relations with Iran , said Aziz.

Another important issue, and one which the West will be tracking closely, is the kind of discussions the two leaders have on the increasingly complex and intractable Syria issue. Given the urgency of the Syrian crisis, it is sure to figure in the discussions, said Haer. With the bloody stalemate persisting in Syria, India Aug 9 sent a mid-level diplomat to a hurriedly convened conference by Tehran, the principal backer of Damascus, to press for what it called an indigenous solution to the Syrian crisis.

India has consistently opposed regime change and backed an inclusive Syrian-led political transition.

(Manish Chand can be contacted at


Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS




More Headlines

Input costs, lack of reforms hit India Inc. business confidence

Ramdev to continue fast, gives Monday deadline to PM

Ban on Jan Myrdal’s India visit undemocratic

Who needs a Modi apology?

Probe agriculture ministry's role in clearing Bt Cotton: Parliament panel

Iran quake toll up: 250 killed, 1,800 injured

This Hyderabad mosque is more than a place of worship

Wrestler Yogeshwar gets India Olympic bronze after hockey embarrassment

Aspirin lowers risk of cancer mortality

Scientists design earthworm-like robot

90 killed in Iran quake


Top Stories

Police say they prevented 'holocaust' in Mumbai

A top police official branded Saturday's violence in Mumbai as "pre-planned" and said there may have been an "holocaust" but for the extreme restraint his force exercised.  »

Raza Academy, Muslim groups apologize for violence

Mumbai calm but police remain on guard

Community leaders condemn Mumbai violence, appeal for calm

Two dead in Mumbai protests against Assam riots, Myanmar killings


  Most Read

Who needs a Modi apology?

The Muslims need justice, not a convoluted apology from the architect of Gujarat 2002

Of late though one descries a growing desperation in the Gujarat leader as he eyes the Delhi throne  »

1250 years later, Baghdad is a far cry from past glories

Baghdad was once the capital of an empire and the center of the Islamic world, but at 1,250 years old, the Iraqi city is a far cry from its past glories after being ravaged by years of war and sanctions, according to an AFP report. Construction of the city on the bank of the Tigris River began  »


  News Pick

Wrestler Yogeshwar gets India Olympic bronze after hockey embarrassment

Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt gave India lot to cheer about by winning the bronze medal on a day when the hockey team, eight-time Olympic champions, ended their  »

This Hyderabad mosque is more than a place of worship

In this historic city where minarets of hundreds of mosques dot the sky, one mosque stands out as more than a mere place of worship. Besides the five-time prayers a day, the mosque is playing a significant role in addressing  »

I'll welcome Rahul Gandhi to UPA government: Manmohan Singh

With Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi agreeing to take a more proactive role, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh  »

Can Rahul Gandhi grow beyond cameo roles?

Iran quake toll up: 250 killed, 1,800 injured

At least 250 people were killed and over 1,800 injured as two powerful earthquakes rocked northwestern Iran, Fars news agency reported Sunday. A quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck Ahar city in  »


Picture of the Day

President Pranab Mukherjee administering the oath of Office of Vice President to Mohd. Hamid Ansari at a Swearing-in-Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on August 11, 2012.



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us




    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.