India has dealt a fresh blow to America and Europe's attempts to force Iran to stop enriching Uranium. Just one months before unprecedented sanctions against the Islamic republic coming to force New Delhi, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil, said their trade will not be affected. RT's Priya Shridhar reports from India.
India has said it will cut imports of Iranian oil by 11% in the current financial year.
Mr Singh said that India's refiners were likely to import 15.5m tonnes of crude oil from Iran in the current financial year, down from 17.44m tonnes last year.
In the backdrop of US pressure to reduce oil imports from Iran, India on Thursday said unilateral sanctions should not impact upon its "legitimate trade interests" with the Persian nation.
After talks with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna made it clear that Iran remained India's important source for oil given the growing domestic demand for crude.
Asked about the US sanctions on Iran and its affect on trade, Krishna said India has always abided by the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Iran issue.
"As far as other sanctions, those decided unilaterally or regionally, we are aware of such measures. In a globalised world, these actions can have an impact on the markets," he said.
"Our commercial entities take these into account. Such measures should not impact on legitimate trade interests," Krishna said.
Salehi underlined that Iran has been a reliable partner for India on matters of energy security and will continue to be so.
He also urged India to look at energy resources that were reliable.
"Iran is an important neighbour and crucial trade partner for India, and also a major source of our energy supplies," Krishna said, adding the Persian nation was also a gateway for India to Central Asia. MORE PTI SKU DV 05311530 NNNN
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India and Iran share an interest in the stability of Central Asia and the Gulf, Krishna said, adding that he and Salehi also discussed threats the two nations faced from terrorism and extremism.
Salehi is in India as a Special Envoy of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad to extend an invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit to be held in Tehran in August.
He is scheduled to meet Singh tomorrow.
He also briefed Krishna on the recent discussions between Iran and the P5+1 in Baghdad on Tehran's nuclear programme.
"India has always held that the nuclear issue should be resolved through peaceful diplomacy and the framework of the IAEA provides the best forum to address the technical aspects of the issue," Krishna said.
On the importance of NAM, Salehi underlined the need for a voice for developing nations to speak for justice, fairness and equal sharing of management of world affairs.
Asked about allegations against Iran in connection with the attack on an Israeli diplomat here in February, Salehi refuted them and said that Iran need not bother itself on such charges. PTI SKU DV 05311531 NNNN