Source: Tehran Times
Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on Tuesday that Iran is a key country for India's energy needs.
Resisting U.S. pressure to further scale down oil imports from sanction-hit Iran, India made it clear that it has to look at the issue involved beyond the energy trade as it has "vital" security stakes in the Persian Gulf region.
After talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during which she asked India to restrict its trade and energy ties with Tehran, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said, "I conveyed our vital stakes in peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and wider West Asian region, given the six million Indians who live there and the region's importance to our economy."
Clinton has been pressing India to "do more" to scale down its oil imports from Iran to keep pressure on Tehran.
Admittedly, the timing was awkward. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in New Delhi this week after declaring that India should reduce imports of Iranian oil and comply with Western sanctions. Yet across town, India and Iran were trying to figure out ways to do business together. - New York Times
Addressing a joint press interaction, Krishna said, "Iran is a key country for our energy needs but we have to look at the Iran issue beyond the issue of energy trade. In the first place, we have to see security and stability in the Persian Gulf region, India has vital stakes in Persian Gulf region."
"It is one of the critical destinations for our external trade," he said, while noting that India's exports to that region were about $100 billion and oil imports stood at 60 percent.
India has been asking Tehran to abide by its international obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but has maintained that it has a right to pursue nuclear activities for peaceful purposes.
"We also discussed the importance of peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations, based on the position that Iran has rights as a member of NPT," Krishna said.
The Indian external affairs minister also noted that "the issue (Iran) was not a source of discord" between the U.S. and India.
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