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'India could be topmost gainer with lifting of sanctions in Iran'

04/08/2015


'India could be topmost gainer with lifting of sanctions in Iran'

Connectivity was the central theme of the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when they met on the sidelines of the BRICS and SCO summits last month in Ufa, Russia.


"In the changed circumstances, I expected our ties to gain greater momentum," he added.

India had increased its high-level engagements with Iran since the beginning of this year. It started with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval followed by foreign secretary S Jaishankar, who also visited Iran in June. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is also expected to undertake a visit there soon.

India can be the biggest gainer from the lifting of trade sanctions on Iran even as both countries are planning to take their bilateral ties to newer heights, a top Iranian official said on Monday.

“India can be the first country to benefit from the deal. Iran is uniquely located due to its geographical location. We have 15 neighbouring countries, so it was not possible for the US to isolate us. There exists huge potential for India and Iran to cooperate on energy security. Iran was very helpful during the sanctions, although it did not consider all our demands,” a top Iranian diplomat said in an event organised by ORF on Monday.

The official said connectivity can form the main backbone of bilateral relationship. India is engaged building terminals at Iran’s strategically located Chabahar port, which is expected give the country, access to Afghanistan and other mineral-rich Central Asian nations.

The deadline to complete the Chabahar project is December 2016. India had bagged the contract in 2003. India is also building Iran’s railway network, which the official said, will benefit both Iran as well as India, in achieving greater connectivity.

(http://www.business-standard.com/)

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