India, Iran should address trade imbalance: Manmohan Singh


Tehran : India and Iran should address their trade imbalance, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Wednesday even as the two sides stressed increasing bilateral and trilateral cooperation to develop the Chahbahar port as the gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

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During his talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Manmohan Singh, who is here for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, referred to trade imbalance and spoke of the need for Iran to import more, and particularly “resume imports of Indian wheat,” an Indian government source said.

At $15 billion, two-way trade between the two countries is heavily tilted in favour of Iran, which exports goods, mainly oil, worth $12.5 billion and imports goods worth only $2.5 billion.

During their hour-long talks, the two leaders reviewed their bilateral ties and emphasised on increasing their economic and trade relations.

They also welcomed the decision to hold the next meeting of the India-Iran Joint Commission at the foreign ministers’ level in November in Tehran, the sources said.

On the question of India’s nuclear programme, Manmohan Singh expressed hope that Iran would work within the parameters of the P5+1 dialogue and “hoped the recent negotiations would yield positive results in the interest of peace and security in the region”, the source said.

The two leaders also discussed the recent developments in the region and beyond, with particular emphasis on the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Middle East.

Much the same views were expressed during Manmohan Singh’s 40-minute meeting with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with both leaders underlining the close, vibrant and cultural links between the two countries.