Clinton tells energy-starved India to reduce oil imports from Iran
Kolkata, May 7 (ANI): Visiting United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday urged energy-starved India to reduce its oil imports from Iran to maintain global pressure on that country to come clean on its nuclear program.
Addressing a town hall meeting here, Clinton said New Delhi could find and tap alternative sources for oil, and added that Washington would like to see New Delhi do more to reduce its imports from Iran.
"India... is certainly working towards lowering purchases of Iranian oil. We commend the steps they have taken thus far. We hope they will do even more," she said.
Clinton said that she believed there was "adequate" supply of oil in the marketplace, including from Saudi Arabia, to make up for reductions from Iran.
"If there weren't an adequate supply... we would understand, but we believe that there is adequate supply," Clinton said.
India, with a growth rate of about seven percent, has a nearly insatiable need for oil. About nine percent of its oil imports are from Iran, though officials say it has reduced its dependency on Iranian oil in recent months,
"We appreciate what has been done and, of course, we want to keep the pressure on Iran," Clinton said.
For India, Iran is its second largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia.
"We believe, at this moment in time, the principle threat is a nuclear-armed Iran. We need India to be part of the international effort," Clinton said.
Clinton also informed that during her talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, she would "certainly raise the United States' desire to try to open the market to multi-brand retailers."
Clinton will head to Delhi on Monday afternoon, where she will have meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
On Tuesday, she will have a meeting with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna before addressing a joint press conference with him.
Clinton said the United States wanted a peaceful solution and pointed to efforts by President Barack Obama early in his term to reach out to Iran. (ANI)
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