Close on the heels of President George W Bush's remarks linking Indians' food habits to rising global prices of commodities, the United States has now partly attributed the surge in oil futures to the increased demand in India and China.
"There are a lot of different ways that we can reduce our dependence, but we have more to do and it's just -- and also I would point out that, obviously, the demand for oil is growing around the world," White House Deputy Spokesman Scott Stanzel said in a briefing.<b1>
"Many developing nations like India or China are having greatly increased demand, which obviously is having an impact on price," the senior White House official said responding to a question on the crude oil price crossing $120-mark.
The senior White House official stressed that it was important for the United States to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
Highlighting the need for "domestic exploration", he said "We also have to do more in terms of building refineries. We haven't built refineries in about 30 years".
Stanzel also spoke regarding Bush's remarks, which have drawn a lot of flak from every section in India, saying the United States saw "higher living standards" of people there as a "good thing".
"We think that it is a good thing that countries are developing; that more and more people have higher and higher standards of living," he said.
However, he apparently did not go back on Bush's point that Indian food habits were contributing to spiralling prices of commodities, which in turn, were worsening the global food crisis.