New Delhi: Hoping to secure waiver from U.S. sanctions, India has significantly cut the oil import from Iran, the Petroleum Ministry officials said Monday.
India has cut back on Iranian crude imports in recent months, but plans to lift some oil in November. Petroelum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters that New Delhi was discussing the issue of a waiver “with all the authorities concerned”.
“We have to fulfill all our domestic requirements,” Pradhan said, confirming the plan to buy some Iranian crude after U.S. sanctions starts on November 04.
The Modi government in New Delhi is under immense pressure because of the rising oil prices. Stopping oil imports from Iran will further increase the prices which the government is not ready to face.
Following the rampant anger and fearing that the BJP's chances in the five states where elections are due in November and Demeber will be hampered, the government had in the last week marginally reduced the petrol and diesel prices.
India has been curtailing oil imports from Iran since September. India would lift 9 million barrels of Iranian oil in November, equivalent to about 300,0000 barrels per day (bpd), compared to an average of about 658,000 bpd from April to August, according to news agency Reuters.
“It has been quite a tough process to negotiate,” said Sanjay Sudhir, a joint secretary handling international cooperation in the Oil Ministry, in reference to efforts to diversify supplies and reduce Iranian imports.
“We were trying to balance our relationship with the U.S. and Iran, at the same time keeping our energy and security interest in mind,” he added.
Meanwhile, demand to bring petroleum prices under GST is gathering further momentum. Many analysts have also rejected the government's claim that price rise is due to external factors and are blaming its policies for the disproportionate rise in the petroleum prices India.
Interestingly, Union Minister Pradhan had himself advocated in the past that a decision on this front should be taken at its earliest. The Prime Minister Office, accused of single-handedly handling all government matters, policies and decision making, however has so far not shown any interest.
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