Seeking to expand its trade relationship with Iran and make inroads into this lucrative market, India has decided to send sector specific trade delegations to explore opportunities to enhance economic engagement including that in pharmaceutical, automobiles and oil and gas sectors.

In addition to this, the business chambers and export organisations have been asked to prepare along with the Commerce Ministry for hosting a ``India Show’’ in Iran during next year to showcase India’s economic might and what all it could offer to Iran and vis-à-vis.

The Commerce and Industry Ministry has asked the Gems and jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) to mount a delegation to Iran to explore opportunities and areas of cooperation and trade in order to expand the footprints of Indian gems and diamond trade. ``the old Silk route could form the basis for initiating a new direction to the intra-regional trade. The GJEPC had recently taken a delegation to Pakistan and signed a seven-point agenda programme for promoting and expanding gems and diamond trade ties with its Pakistani counterparts. ``Iran presents a huge opportunity for us and we should grab it. We have to adopt a sector specific approach. Now that the rupee payment mechanism has been resolved, the speed of trade would increase tremendously. We have urged the exporters to also get aggressive on trade with Tehran,’’ a senior Commerce Ministry official remarked.

The Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) is spearheading the initiative for expanding trading activity with Iran. Apart from this, India would also be sending a delegation with specific interest in automobiles and automotive components. "Tata Motors is already holding talks with local companies for possible joint venture. There is a huge opportunity in the automobile sector especially the automotive components that could be cashed upon by the Indian companies. We are working on sending a delegation in this connection also,’’ the senior official remarked.

India is also very keen on forging strong ties with Tehran in the pharmaceutical sector especially in supply of generic drugs. There are certain standard specification and tariff issues that need to be resolved with Iran before this sector gets a fillip. "India has one of the best laboratories for testing of pharma drugs, something even US acknowledges. There should not be any quality standard issues. We are engaged with Iran on pharma sector and are hopeful of a breakthrough very soon,’’ the official said.

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