New Delhi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday told visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that India would take a decision on continuing oil imports from Iran “after the elections keeping in mind our commercial considerations, energy security and economic interests”, Government sources said on Tuesday. On the issue of oil imports, it may be recalled that India has been in the process of completely stopping its oil imports from Iran to escape US sanctions.
However, the new government that is expected to be in place within the next three weeks in New Delhi is expected to take a final decision on the matter.
Iranian foreign minister Zarif had made a brief visit to New Delhi on Tuesday to hold talks with Ms Swaraj. The ministry of external affairs meanwhile only issued a brief statement, saying Ms Swaraj and Mr Zarif ‘held constructive discussions on all bilateral issues of mutual interest’ and that there was a ‘good exchange of views on the evolving regional situation, including Afghanistan’.
The Indo-Iranian strategic cooperation on the Chabahar port was also discussed, with government sources saying ‘both sides expressed satisfaction at the operationalisation of the interim contract on the Chabahar Port’.
New Delhi has been worried over the impact that American policy against Iran will have on the Indo-Iranian strategic partnership for the development of Chabahar port in Iran that gives New Delhi crucial sea-land connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.
It may be recalled that the United States had earlier given six-month waivers to eight countries including India, China, Japan and South Korea for exemption from the November 4 deadline last year of stopping Iranian oil imports completely. India relies heavily on foreign oil imports to meet its energy demands.