Reducing its oil imports from Iran is “a part of India's role in the international community” in efforts to ensure that Tehran does not acquire nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said here on Monday. Ms. Clinton commended India for the steps it had already taken in this regard but there was need to do more.

At an interactive session with a cross section of society at a school here, she said there was “international consensus” on imposing sanctions on Iran and “the pressure has brought Iran to the negotiating table.”

“The reason why India China and Japan and European countries, who are the primary purchasers of Iran's oil, are being asked to lower their supplies is to keep the pressure on Iran,” she said.

Asked if the U.S. was unhappy with India's response, she said: “It [India] has moved and we are encouraged by what we have seen.”

“Supplies adequate”

Ms. Clinton said countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq had increased oil exports and there was “adequate supply” in the market. “If there was not adequate supply in the market, if there was not the ability for India to go into the market and meet its needs we would understand that, but there are adequate supplies.”

Describing Iran as a state that sponsored terrorism, she said that while she was apprehensive of a conflict between Iran and Israel in the near future, the greatest anxiety was if nuclear weapons were to pass into the hands of terrorists.

Alternative pipeline

She pointed out that trade within the region in Central and South Asia was not as vibrant as in other parts of the world, suggesting an oil pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan into India and into Bangladesh and Myanmar as an alternative to supplies from Iran.

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