External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has said India expects Iran to do more to address international concerns about its nuclear programme but, in what officials said reflected the country's distaste for western countries grouping up to impose sanctions, pointed out that India “rigorously implements” all United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Addressing a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr. Krishna admitted that oil imports from Iran had come down marginally but said it was a commercial decision taken by the refineries.
He termed Iran a key country for energy supplies, but wished for an end to obduracy that has marked talks on the nuclear issue because any turbulence in the region would badly hit India's interests — the Middle East accounts for huge remittances from 60 lakh Indians working there, accounts for 60 per cent of the energy supplies and over $100 billions in bilateral trade.
However, more specifics about how India could help the West in this respect will be discussed next week, just ahead of the May 23 talks between Iran and P-5 +1. Ms. Clinton said U.S. Special Envoy for global energy issues Carlos Pasqat would lead a team of experts to India to assess the trade-off between India's growing energy needs and reducing imports from Iran.
Both leaders said the issue was not a source of discord between the two countries, but Ms. Clinton felt that if the international community eased the pressure, Iran would have less incentive to address the international community's concerns about its nuclear programme.
Mr. Krishna did not shy away from flagging other issues of discord — Indian concerns about the continuing difficulties on mobility of professionals, especially for IT companies, and the protectionist sentiments in the U.S. with regard to global supply chain in services industry.
On the civil nuclear issue, he assured her of India's commitment to providing a level-playing field to all U.S. companies, “within the framework of national law and international legal obligations.” Ms. Clinton welcomed these assurances and hoped the first of the two U.S. mega projects in this sector would soon take off.