India today said it’ll take all steps to ensure its energy security isn’t compromised even as the U.S. warned against imports from Iran.
“The statement by the U.S., calling for reducing oil imports from Iran to zero by November 4, was not India-specific and applies to all countries,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs. “As far as we’re concerned, we’ll take all necessary steps with stakeholders to ensure our energy security isn’t compromised.”
The U.S. on Tuesday said that it expects all countries to reduce their oil imports to zero or face sanctions. U.S. President Donald Trump had pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in May and re-imposed sanctions on the Middle-East nation, which is India’s third-largest supplier of oil after Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Countries importing Iranian crude could face secondary U.S. sanctions that could take various forms — the most significant being cut off from the American financial system.
China and India are the two largest importers of Iran oil, together accounting for 1.4 million barrels per day, according to a recent report by DBS. Data with the Commerce Ministry suggests that oil accounts for 80 percent of imports from the Persian Gulf nation.
Earlier this month, a team of officials from the ministries of Oil, Finance and External Affairs visited Europe to assess the impact and future trade with Iran after the U.S. sanctions.
The issue is also straining ties between the U.S. and India. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said last month that India recognises sanctions by the United Nations and not those by U.S. She’d also said that India doesn’t formulate its foreign policy under pressure from other nations.
The U.S. conveyed to India on Wednesday that it has postponed the ‘2+2 dialogue’, scheduled to be held next week in Washington, due to “unavoidable reasons”. The move is significant as the dialogue was considered a platform to improve India-U.S. ties.