India hopes to boost mutual cooperation with Iran: Krishna

Tehran: Ahead of the 16th NAM Summit, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has said that India hopes to boost mutual cooperation with Iran especially in the economic sector.

The remarks came even as US has been leaning on India to decrease its engagement with Tehran which has been hit by a series of sanctions slapped by Washington and some other Western countries.

Krishna yesterday told reporters upon his arrival at Tehran`s Mehrabad International Airport that India, as a founder member of NAM, thinks of boosting cooperation among the movement`s member states.

He said India and Iran have long had friendly relations and New Delhi hopes to boost mutual cooperation especially in economic area, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said in a report.

Krishna had held bilateral talks with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi last evening during which the two sides focused on trade and economy.

The recently held trilateral meeting of India, Iran and Afghanistan, which was undertaken to brainstorm strategies for operating the crucial Chabahar port, was also discussed.

Krishna and Salehi focused on bilateral trade and economy during which payment mechanism was also discussed.

While Iran is one of the main oil supplier for energy- starved India, the recent sanctions imposed by US and some other Western countries have severely affected the oil trade.

Even though India does not recognise international sanctions other than those imposed by the United Nations, the financial sanctions have hit the payments methods to Tehran. Also, major international insurance companies have stopped insuring oil tankers coming in from Iran.

The 16th NAM Summit is being hosted by Iran which sees the event as a major diplomatic win for it. Leaders and representatives from 120 countries are expected to assemble here for the Summit on August 30-31.

Today, Krishna will attend the NAM Ministerial meeting. A number of important leaders from the block, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will attend the event.