Clinton visit: India to juggle ties with US, IranMay 5th, 2012 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) India will be juggling its ties with Iran and the US as it gears up to hold talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday even as an Iranian trade delegation will be here to find ways to do business with Indian companies.
The Iranian nuclear issue and sanctions imposed by the US and the EU to squeeze the Tehran regime suspected of developing nuclear weapons will be a key regional issue on the table when Clinton holds talks with her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna Tuesday.
Clinton begins her three-day visit to India Sunday from Kolkata where she is expected to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The Indian side is expected to brief Clinton about steps taken by New Delhi to persuade Indian companies to cut down Iranian oil imports. Iran accounts for around 10 percent of India’s oil imports. In the past few months, there has been a steady cut down in Indian oil imports from Iran.
India has denied that it is reducing oil imports under pressure from the US, and has tended to put a brave face on it saying it was only seeking to diversify its supply of oil.
India has made it clear to the US that it abides by the UN sanctions and not unilateral sanctions by individual countries or groupings and will continue to buy Iranian oil for its energy security.
In March, the US granted exemptions to Japan and 10 European Union nations from its sanctions, which are aimed at pressuring Tehran to end its nuclear programme.
Clinton’s visit to India coincides with a visit by a a 56-member strong Iranian trade delegation to India.
The Iranian exporters, who are targeted by the Western sanctions, will be looking for fresh opportunities in the Indian market.
A large Indian trade delegation had visited Iran in March to forge business links and to explore opportunities for additional trade and investment.
In February, India found a way to skirt sanctions by sealing a payment mechanism under which Indian companies will pay for 45 percent of their crude oil imports from Iran in rupees.
In recent years, India has taken care to insulate its multi-faceted ties with Iran from the West’s prickly standoff with Tehran over its nuclear programme. The West accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons.
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Tags: brave face, chief minister, clinton visit, energy security, hillary clinton, indian counterpart, indian oil, iranian oil, mamata banerjee, nuclear issue, nuclear weapons, oil imports, oil india, payment mechanism, regional issue, tehran regime, trade delegation, unilateral sanctions, west bengal, western sanctions