India has conveyed to the US that New Delhi’s foreign policy on sanction hit countries like Russia and Iran is independent of its relations with Washington.
During the recent visit of the US President Barack Obama to India it was ‘effectively communicated’, said sources in the know. On its part, the US, realising India’s dependence on sanction hit Iran and Russia for its energy needs, has adopted a softer and more pragmatic approach towards New Delhi.
Though the issue did not feature in the joint press briefing of the two heads of States, the matter was discussed at the bilateral levels, said an official in the know of the developments.
Taking extra precaution prior to President Obama’s visit, domestic refiners such as Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals were ‘informally asked’ by the Indian Government to cut purchases from Iran, as it had already touched the sanction limit.
Official sources said that India wants to maintain crude oil imports from Iran at the same level as that of last fiscal – around 10-11 million tonne.
By January of the current fiscal, MRPL had already crossed its last fiscal’s total imports from Iran (around 4 million tonne).
Another official said that it was an anxious moment for MRPL, which had to float tenders to buy crude oil for February and March. But thanks to the prevailing global market conditions and adequate supplies, it has been able to replace Iranian supplies with crude oil from other places, the official added.
Similar to Iranian crude is oil from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
MRPL’s refinery capacity is 15 million tonne.
The US has been stating that India has been an important element in international diplomatic effort with respect to Iran. It also acknowledged India’s reduction in its purchases of Iranian oil.
“India has a relationship – a longstanding relationship with Iran, and so we need to make sure that we’re closely coordinated with India as we continue to enforce those sanctions and pursue a comprehensive resolution,” it said.