India’s Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan currently on a three day visit to Iran and UAE (from 9-12 April 2016) is looking at enhancing India’s strategic oil ties with the two Gulf nations given the close proximity to the region.
During his visit to Iran from 9-10 April, Pradhan will meet Iranian Minister of Petroleum, Senior Adviser to President of Iran on Free Trade Zones and Governor of Central Bank of Iran in Tehran, where he would also be addressing the Tehran Chamber of Commerce. He is also scheduled to meet Indian businessmen and professionals and visit Chabahar FTZ to interact with FTZ authorities.
India and Iran share historic bilateral relations with substantial economic engagements, covering many sectors. The trade relations have traditionally been buoyed by Indian import of Iranian crude oil. The bilateral trade during the fiscal year 2014-15 was US $ 13.13 billion. India imported US $ 8.95 billion worth of goods, mainly crude oil and exported commodities worth US $ 4.17 billion. The visit of Pradhan envisages engaging with the Iranian political leadership to work with them, particularly in the hydrocarbon, petrochemicals and fertilisers sectors for mutual benefits, including strengthening of India’s energy security.
During the visit to UAE from 11-12 April, Pradhan will meet Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy of UAE in Abu Dhabi. He will also meet with CEO of ADNOC and Chairman of AIDA (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority).
During his stay in Dubai, Pradhan will meet Emirati Businessmen, inaugurate India Pavilion at the Annual Investment Meet-2016 at the World Trade Centre, visit Jabel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) and interact with JAFZA authorities.
The visit of Pradhan to UAE is a follow up of the February 2016 visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Minister of Energy H E Mr Al Mazrouei. The last visit by an Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas to Iran was in April 2007.
In the recent years, the traditionally close and friendly India – UAE bilateral relationship has evolved into a significant partnership in the economic and commercial sphere. India-UAE trade, which was valued at US $ 180 million per annum in the 1970s, is today around US $ 60 billion making UAE, India’s third largest trading partner for the year 2014-15. For UAE, India is the largest trading partner for the year 2014, with an amount of over US$ 28 billion (non-oil trade). On the energy front, UAE contributes significantly to India’s energy security, being the 6th largest supplier. India is the 2nd largest destination for UAE’s oil exports. India imported 16.11 MMT of crude oil from UAE during 2014-15 and 11.52 MMT during April-December 2015.
Pradhan will be accompanied by senior officials from his Ministry and also from Departments of Petrochemicals, Fertilizers and Economic Affairs, apart from CMDs/MDs and officials from Central Public Sector Oil and Gas, Fertilizers, Shipping and Metal companies. Representatives of private Indian companies involved in petroleum, petrochemicals and fertilizers sectors will also be travelling along with Pradhan as part of a FICCI delegation.
(Pic Source: Press TV)