Amid the US’ plan to reduce India’s oil imports from Iran to zero, India has hit back saying it will not do so, reports The Tribune. This decision by the Narendra Modi government was conveyed to the Donald Trump administration during three rounds of technical discussions as well as the 2+2 discussions which were held between Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister; Sushma Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister, and their respective US counterparts.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo conveyed to the Indian side that the US was very keen on ensuring all nations it did business with did not support Iran by buying crude from it and, in fact, rather, reduce their imports from the Islamic nation to zero. India said that the nearly 12 per cent imports which came in from Iran could not be reduced by much as it would affect pricing and supply, and in turn be prejudicial to Indian interests. The US side, however, said that waivers would be considered based on legitimate factors.
The Indian officials are believed to have told the US delegation that Indian citizens were already reeling under the effect of high fuel prices and that if the costs of fuel production did rise, then it would be disastrous for the economy. An official part of the negotiations said that this time, the US was indeed isolated on Tehran, as the Europeans, Chinese and Russians were still in support of the Iran nuclear deal.
India is eyeing oil reserves located in the Caspian Sea, which Iran has sole access to. Indian officials have also told the US that if the Indian economy has to grow and the US has to, in turn, benefit, reasonably-priced fuel was an absolute economic necessity.
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