India emphasises energy security before US officials’ visit

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New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) With a team of US officials likely to visit India soon to hold discussions on sanctions against Iran and impact on oil imports, the government on Thursday emphasised on energy security that is vital for economic growth.

“We are, of course, prepared to take all necessary steps, including engagement with all stakeholders. I had mentioned about ensuring our energy security. We will have to see how we go about doing that. It is vital for economic growth. We have to see the steps we take, the discussions we have, and the engagements which we have to undertake to ensure that we maintain our energy security,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters here.

Kumar said that he was not aware of any firm dates for the discussions at this stage.

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He said that whenever the discussions take place there would be representatives from the Ministries concerned, including of external affairs and petroleum and natural gas.

He was reacting when asked about reports of a US delegation’s visit to India to talk about the Iran nuclear deal.

Kumar said that the question pertained to a statement made by a US State Department official and there was no specific mention about any country.

Brian Hook, Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department, had said on Monday that the US was not looking to grant licences or waivers because doing so would substantially reduce pressure on Iran.

He had said that the US was prepared to work with countries reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis, but as with our other sanctions, it is not looking to grant waivers or licences.

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Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The US has told India and other countries to cut oil imports from Iran to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is also learnt to have reiterated the US position in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

–IANS

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