Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is set to arrive in India on Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi following a visit to neighbouring Pakistan.
Zarif, who was also in Syria and Lebanon earlier this week, will also meet with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
It is expected that Zarif will discuss with Swaraj ways to boost trade between Iran and India, as well as increasing Indian imports of Iranian oil.
India was formerly Iran’s second biggest customer for crude oil before US-led sanctions on the country forced India to back away from the Iranian market.
According to media reports, diplomatic sources have stated that Indian Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi has given the order to pay Iran $1.4 billion in oil dues in two installments of $700 million.
Iran also said it will make development rights for its Farzad-B gas field in the Farsi offshore block available to Indian companies, with Indian firm ONGC Videsh favoured to clinch the deal ahead of European rivals.
The end of sanctions as part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, which was agreed between Iran and six world powers in Geneva last month, has now paved the way for India to increase its imports from Iran.
Zarif’s meeting with Gadkari, meanwhile, is likely to focus on the joint venture between the two countries to upgrade Iran’s Chabahar port.