Come November, India will be in a tight
corner whether to cut Iranian crude or to defy US ignoring its threat of
sanctions if Iranian crude import continues.
Though India has not taken any decision in this issue of
serious conflicts of interest, the Indian
government has asked state-owned oil firms to prepare a blueprint of alternatives
sources as it considers acquiescing to U.S. President Donald Trump's demands
for ending oil imports from Iran by Nov. 4, government and industry officials
Getting a replacement for the oil needs
will not be a problem as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq would be ready with the
supply; but the hitch is Iran offered some veritable commercial benefits like
longer duration of 60 days for payment while the other countries could not
offer so much time, to mention one benefit.
Again India’s keen interest in Iran’s
Chabahar port has to be taken into account. Much effort and much money have
gone into making the port operational and the media report that it will become
operational soon, according to the Shipping Minister. Efforts are soon to bear
fruit. Of course, India is bound by sanctions of United Nations (UN) only; but
all the same the consequences of severing ties with the US could not be totally
Unlike the Obama administration when it
was enough if India showed ‘significant reduction’ bringing down oil imports at
an average rate of 20 per cent every six month, President Trump does not budge
from zero import.
On Thursday, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said India will decide on
Iranian imports keeping its best interest in mind. "Our basket (of crude
imports) has become multi-country. There may be no country in the world that we
have a problem getting oil from. We buy from Latin America, we buy from Brunei.
When the US became an exporter, Indian companies were first to buy," he