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News number: 9101140026

16:52 | 2012-04-02

Foriegn Policy

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Indian PM Likely to Visit Iran in Summer

TEHRAN (FNA)- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will likely visit Iran later this year, notwithstanding the US frowns on India's continued energy ties with the Islamic Republic.

Singh may attend the Non-Aligned Movement's 16th summit, scheduled to be held in Iran's Central city of Isfahan.

According to media reports, during the likely visit, Singh may meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the summit. Favoring diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the tension over Iran's nuclear programs, Singh recently joined the BRICS leaders in warning the US and rest of the western world over the "disastrous consequences" of a conflict with Iran over the issue.

BRICS - which is formed of the world's fastest growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - also opposed fresh sanctions on Iran, stating that US domestic laws should not lead to volatility in the international price of crude oil and thus slow down growth of developing countries.

India has publicly rejected the US sanctions on Iran, maintaining that Iran is not only an important source of energy for India, but also its "near neighbor" and "only surface access to Central Asia and Afghanistan".

Singh attended the 14th and the 15th NAM summits in Havana in Cuba and Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt respectively. This apart, he is yet to honor a pending invitation from Iranian President Ahmadinejad to visit Iran.

Singh and Ahmadinejad had a bilateral meeting on the sideline of the 14th NAM summit in 2006. The Iranian president also met Singh during his brief stopover at New Delhi on the way to Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2008. The invitation was renewed when they last met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2011. Sources in New Delhi said that India and Iran had agreed to work on PM's visit to Tehran then.