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India, Iran to hold talks on economic cooperation

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) India and Iran will hold two days of talks on expanding bilateral economic cooperation, beginning here Thursday.

The talks will be held under aegis of the India-Iran Joint Commission, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said.

It will be chaired by the External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and the Iranian Minister for Economic affairs and Finance, Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao earlier this week said the Joint Commission meeting would provide fresh momentum to bilateral relations, especially the long-pending dialogue on energy and trade corridors in Central Asia and greater cooperation and information sharing on counter-terrorism.

The Commission meeting is taking place just three days after Rao voiced concern over the ‘unilateral sanctions’ imposed by individual countries against Iran and said these could have ‘a direct and adverse impact’ on Indian companies and the country’s energy security.

‘Iran is a country extremely important to India from the perspective of energy security… India has repeatedly made clear the fact that accessing energy resources from all parts of the world is absolutely critical to the continued growth of its economy and Iran has the potential to play an important role in this regard,’ Rao said.

Several Indian companies like ONGC Videsh and Petronet LNG have been doing business in Iran.

Also, India is interested in using Iran as a transit point for accessing the major markets of Central Asia. Following the opening of the Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan, Iranian ports are a route for Indian goods to reach the war-ravaged nation.

— Indo-Asian News Service

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