India turns to UAE for increased oil supply

New Delhi: Under pressure from the US to cut its oil imports from Iran, India has decided to set up a high-level joint task force on investment which will also look into securing more oil supplies from UAE that has assured it of "increased" energy exports.

External Affairs minister S M Krishna and his counterpart from UAE Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan held wide-range of discussions on international, regional and bilateral issues including ways to boost trade ties, maritime security cooperation to tackle piracy and Indo-Pak ties.

Underlining the country`s need to increase its oil imports, Krishna, at a joint press conference, said, "The need to increase import of oil and other energy sources is of extreme critical importance and in UAE we have a dependable supplier which India needs so badly."

On its part, the UAE minister assured New Delhi that his country, which is one of the largest suppliers of crude oil, saying "would like to see more UAE energy exports to India especially when it comes to crude oil…..There are talks between our officials looking at these avenues and even further. We would like to see UAE presence in downstream investments in India, including petrochemicals."

As part of efforts to reduce its dependence on Iranian crude, India has been diversifying its energy sources and exploring possibilities of increasing its supplies from the existing partner countries.

India is under pressure from the US to restrict its trade ties and further reduce its oil imports from sanctions-hit Iran, which is its biggest supplier. Sheikh Hamad bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Commerce, Industries and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma will be leading the respective sides of the High Level Task Force, Krishna said.