EghtesadOnline: Following fresh US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program that puts the strategic Chabahar Port project in jeopardy and calls for a complete stop to all Iranian oil exports, India is in touch with all stakeholders over the matter, India’s External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.
“We are very closely monitoring the developments and assessing their implications,” ministry spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar, said in a media briefing in New Delhi.
“We are in touch with all stakeholders in the matter,” Financial Tribune quoted Kumar as saying.
The sanctions on Tehran that will come into effect in November have jeopardized the Chabahar project in Iran, which is being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan, Indian newspaper The Statesman reported.
The port facilitates access to Afghanistan by bypassing Pakistan and is also a vital link in the International North-South Transport Corridor.
“Chabahar is a very important project for us not only for access to Afghanistan and Central Asia but also for Afghanistan itself for our own developmental assistance and developmental programs in Afghanistan,” Kumar said.
He said the matter figured in the discussions during the first-ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi on Sept. 6 in which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis participated.
“I can say that these discussions have led to a better understanding by the US of our objectives, concerns, sensitivities and expectations,” the spokesperson said.
Also, with the new US fresh sanctions, there have been concerns in New Delhi as India is heavily reliant on Iran for crude oil imports.
“We, of course, will continue to work with the United States and other stakeholders to ensure our energy security and also our national interests,” Kumar said.
Earlier this month, briefing the media about the 2+2 Dialogue, a senior US State Department official said there has been expert-level discussions between India and the US on issues related to crude oil exports from Iran and ways to bring those exports down.
Stating that these conversations are ongoing, Principal Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Alice Wells said, “We are working very hard with our partners so that there are no disruptions in the market and adequate supply is available to substitute for Iranian oil.”