Iranian traders to visit India as Clinton arrives
‘India is uneasy about joining a US-led drive against
the Islamic republic’ :
INDIA: A big Iranian trade mission will arrive in India on Sunday to
explore commercial opportunities on the same day as US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton starts her official visit, officials said. The
six-day Iranian trip comes as Washington has been pressuring India to
reduce its oil purchases from Iran in a bid to coax the Islamic republic
to abandon its disputed nuclear programme.
“The timing of the visit with Mrs Clinton’s arrival is a
coincidence,” Anand Seth, a spokesman for the Federation of Indian
Export Organisations (FIEO), a quasi-government body under the Indian
trade ministry, said Saturday. “They’re returning our visit. We invited
them when we were there (in Iran),” he told AFP. An 80-member Indian
trade mission spent five days in Iran in March.
The 56-member Iranian delegation is set to arrive in India on the
same day Clinton lands to spend two days in the energy-hungry South
Asian nation, which hopes to win a waiver from tough US sanctions on
India and China, whose growing economies depend heavily on fuel
imports, have publicly opposed US sanctions but at the same time have
quietly been diversifying oil sources as a June deadline looms for a US
decision on sanctions on importers of the Islamic republic’s oil.
India has pushed state-run refiners to diversify their imports from
Iran to win a waiver from sanctions and is aiming to cut shipments from
the Persian Gulf nation by 15 to 20 percent.