NEW DELHI (TIP): New Delhi is happy that Washington has granted another sixmonth waiver to India on Iran-related sanctions just ahead of the fourth Indo-US strategic dialogue. Along with India, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan have also qualified for the exemption from sanctions. India has reduced its oil purchases from Iran considerably in the past few years, cutting imports by nearly a fifth.
China’s reductions have, however, been more modest. An indication about India getting a fresh waiver from sanctions was recently given by US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman when she visited New Delhi. “They (India) have stood side-by-side with all of us in the international community to say that Iran should not acquire a nuclear weapon.
We greatly appreciate all of the leadership that India has provided, including their enforcement of sanctions,” she said. Officials here candidly acknowledge that the Indian economy, already going through a rough period, would have suffered greater had India attracted the Iran-related sanctions. The waiver to India is being viewed here as a move that sets a perfect stage for the fourth India-US strategic dialogue to be held here on June 24. ‘
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and US Secretary of State John Kerry will lead their respective delegations at the dialogue, which will cover the entire range of relationship between the two countries. The US has been nudging India to reduce its engagement with Iran in view of its controversial nuclear program.
New Delhi has, however, made it clear Washington that it could not be pressed beyond a limit on the issue of Iran, keeping in view its historical ties with the Islamic country. It has also been forthright in stating that it would only abide by UN sanctions against Iran and not those slapped by individual countries, like the US.