While India Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh headed the Indian delegation, the European Union was represented by Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
At a joint media briefing European Council President expressed his concern about Iran’s nuclear programs.
Singh on his part stressed that Iran was a close friend and neighbor of India.
Recently on January 23 European Union foreign ministers had approved unilateral sanctions against Iran’s oil and financial sectors including a ban on Iranian oil imports, a freeze on the assets of the country’s Central Bank within EU states, including a ban on selling diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to Tehran.
On 31st Dec last year new sanctions against Iran were imposed by the United States that were aimed at preventing other countries from importing Iran’s oil and doing transactions with its central bank.
Analysts say Indian Prime Minster Manmohan Singh has given a strong message to the European Community that issues with Iran’s nuclear program can and must be solved by giving maximum scope to diplomacy.
In the mean time India continues to import crude oil from Iran despite US & EU sanctions and has plans to increase its bilateral trade with Tehran.
India and the European Union also entered into an agreement that will be in place for a period of 5 years for collaboration in the field of statistical methodology and research the agreement was signed after one on one talks by the leaders by the representatives from both sides.
India and the European Union are also speeding up negotiations by which trade would double between the two and an agreement of a complex but much anticipated free trade pact is likely to be brought into place later in the year.
India is a fast growing economy with a population of 1.2 billion people, and a rising middle class. The European Union that has been facing financial turmoil for over a year now is fast looking to tap this market.