India and Iran sign six new agreements

Jul 09, 2010 02:00 AM

Undeterred by recent sanctions against Tehran, India signed six agreements, including air services and energy pacts, with Iran and both sides also decided to cooperate closely in stabilizing the violence-torn Afghanistan.
The agreements were signed after External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Iranian Finance Minister Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini concluded the two-day meeting of the joint commission. The two sides also agreed to expand counter terror cooperation and signed an agreement on transfer of sentenced persons.

The pacts, including an air services agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in new and renewable energy, are part of efforts to boost bilateral trade from $ 15 bn to $ 30 bn.
The two sides identified infrastructure, oil, gas, petrochemicals, mining, transport, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles and agriculture as priority areas of economic cooperation. They also agreed to give an impetus to negotiations on double taxation avoidance treaty and a bilateral investment pact that could give a big boost to trade and investment between the two sides.

Two more pacts on science and technology cooperation were signed. The next meeting of the joint commission will be held in Tehran.
An MoU on cooperation in small scale industry was signed between National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) and Iranian Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organisation (ISIPO). Another MoU on cooperation between Central Pulp and Paper Research Institute of India (CPPRI) and Gorgan University of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources (GUASNR) was signed.

The air services will increase the number of flights between the two countries and add two more cities to the schedule.
Besides giving a boost to economic ties, the two sides, which backed the Northern Alliance in the run up to the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001, decided to give a strategic cast to their relationship by agreeing to cooperate closely in helping stabilise Afghanistan. They have decided to hold "structured and regular consultations" on the issue, said reliable sources. The Iranian side assured India of accelerating the pace of work at Chabahhar port that will provide Indian goods an alternative access route to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan, said the sources.

The Iranian side aired appreciation over India taking a forthright stand on the US sanctions. Ahead of the talks, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said at a seminar that India has always advocated diplomacy to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue and stressed that it should be resolved within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Without naming the US, Rao said that such "unilateral sanctions" can have "a direct and adverse impact" on India's energy security.

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