India and Iran plan to step up bilateral commercial and economic engagement despite US pressure on India to limit trade with Iran. In fact, the two countries are thinking in terms of preferential trade and a secure payments mechanism.
A 56-strong Iranian industry delegation, which is in India, held a meeting with members of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry today.
Assocham's hosting of the delegation of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines coincides the visit of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, which sends a clear signal to the US that India is more concerned about its economic and energy security.
Both industry bodies have sought easing of procedures to set up banks in each other's country for evolving a secure payment mechanism for bilateral trade.
India's exports to the Gulf region were about $100 billion and external affairs minister S M Krishna had clearly said at a joint press conference with Clinton that Iran offered "one of the critical destinations for our external trade."
Speaking at an interactive session with the Assocham, Yahya Al-Eshagh, president of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines, said the two countries could significantly increase the current annual two-way trade of about $14 billion with measures aimed at trade facilitation and further easing of procedures by both the countries.