The US wants to keep the pressure on India to further cut its crude imports from Iran — an issue that's sensitive for India beyond reasons of oil.
Close on the heels of Hillary Clinton praising India for steps its refineries are taking to reduce imports from Iran, Carlos Pascual, the US state department’s special envoy and coordinator for energy affairs, will arrive in India next week to press India to look for alternative sources of crude oil.
“We commend India for the steps its refineries are taking to reduce imports from Iran,” Clinton said on Tuesday after her meeting with external affairs minister SM Krishna.
It is estimated that India’s dependence on Iran will come down by another 25% this year.
“If the international community eases the pressure or wavers in its resolve, Iran will have less incentive to negotiate in good faith...” Clinton said.
Stating that India has to look at Iran “beyond the issue of energy trade”, Krishna said, “India has vital stakes in the Gulf region. Six million Indians live and work in the Gulf region and beyond. It is one of the critical destinations of our external trade — over 100 billion US dollars in exports, and over 60% of oil imports, and a major source of remittances. There are ties of religion, culture and civilisation that bind us to the region.”
“India’s imports are growing, on an average, by about ten million tonnes annually. Given the growing demand, it is natural for us to try and diversify our sources of imports of oil and gas to meet the objective of energy security,” he said.