India to go ahead with Iran trade visit

Islamabad: India`s trade relations with Iran will not be affected by bomb attacks blamed on the Islamic republic and an Indian business delegation will go ahead with a visit to Tehran, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said today.

Terrorism and trade are separate issues and the perpetrators of Monday`s bombing of an Israeli diplomat`s car in New Delhi were yet to be identified, Sharma told reporters on the margins of a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

Israel has already blamed the bombing in New Delhi on Iran. An Israeli diplomat`s wife was badly injured in the attack. "Let the identity of the perpetrators be established and let them be brought to justice," Sharma said.

Indian investigating agencies were probing the attack and would bring the perpetrators to justice, he added. India would go ahead with its plan to send a business delegation to Iran to promote trade and investment.

"There is no change in our plans," he said. New Delhi said last week it would send a trade mission to Tehran by the end of this month to explore business opportunities created by sanctions imposed by the West over Iran`s nuclear programme.

Iran is India`s second-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, providing around 12 per cent of its crude needs. India says it will abide only by UN sanctions, and will not implement those by individual nations.

Indian trade lobbies have said Iran offers huge potential for export of products and commodities worth over USD 10 billion annually.

At the same time, Israel is a one of India`s biggest military hardware suppliers.