The US will not undermine India's energy security, said US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, speaking in New Delhi on Monday in the context of Iranian oil sanctions.
She dismissed "media reports" about Iran becoming a major source of friction between India and the US. "Let me correct the record," she said, noting that the two countries share "fundamental goals" over Iran including regional stability and preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
While hinting that Washington's sanctions regime against Iran would not pose a problem to the Indian economy, Sherman also spoke of "hard decisions" that would have to be made about relations with Tehran.
The US understood India's ties with Iran and its importance as a "gateway" to Central Asia, she said, while stressing the legitimacy of international concerns about Iran's actions.
Sherman is the number three US state department official.
The IAEA and the West have expressed concern that Iran is pursuing a nuclear programme in violation of its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligations. India and the US have voted four times at the IAEA against Iran, noted Sherman.
Sherman described the Indo-US relationship as "substantive", saying there was a clear convergence of strategic interests between the two countries "in every area". Differences, she said, were only "tactical".
Sherman admitted there was some "drift" in their ties. But on many fronts it was moving forward. Bilateral trade is likely to cross $100 billion this year and the two nations could not afford to not be ambitious on defence cooperation. She also promised that, "India can rely on the US to be a partner in finding tech solutions to India's problems".