Hyderabad, Jan 16: Iran has requested India to allow it to open accounts in multiple banks for transactions with Indian companies in the non-oil sector, the country’s ambassador to India said Thursday.
Iran’s ambassador Gholam Reza Ansari told reporters on the sidelines of an event here that his country was keen to strengthen relations with India by having multiple bank accounts to boost non-oil trade.
Currently, only UCO Bank in India facilitates transactions between Indian companies and Iran.
Pointing out that the UCO Bank account is for oil transactions, Ansari said there was need for multiple channels, as the trade relations between the two nations extend beyond oil.
He said Tehran wanted to reverse the monopoly of UCO Bank and has requested the ministry of finance and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow it to open accounts in multiple banks.
The Iranian ambassador said having only one bank for transactions was an obstacle in the promotion of trade between the two countries.
For all oil imports from Iran since July 2011, India has been paying 55 percent of the amount in Euros through Ankara-based Halkbank. The remaining money is being remitted in rupees in Kolkata-based UCO Bank.
Ansari said Iran was looking at diversifying its economic relations with India through joint ventures, investments and technology transfer.
Addressing an interactive business meeting organised by the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI), he said bilateral trade with India is expected to cross $15 billion during the current fiscal, as against $13.5 billion in the last fiscal.
Asked about a possible cut in oil imports by India next year, he said that while it was for the Indian government to take a decision, Iran remained India’s cheapest and most easily accessible source of crude.
The ambassador invited Indian businesses to invest in pharmaceutical and information technology sectors in Iran.