Carlos Pascual to travel to India next week

Washington: Aiming to help India reduce its dependence on Iranian oil, a top US energy diplomat will visit the country from May 14 to 17 for talks on key issues like the development of power markets and emerging trends in the global energy economy.

In his first trip to India in present capacity, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Carlos Pascual will travel to Delhi and Mumbai to meet Indian officials, energy industry experts and members of civil society.

"India is a vital and growing actor in world energy markets," the State Department said in a statement.

"On this trip, Pascual will engage with the Indian government, private sector and civil society on several broad themes, including regional energy security in South Asia, the next steps for India and the United States on unconventional gas, energy access, the UN initiative Sustainable Energy for All, the development of power markets and emerging trends in the global energy economy," it said.

The announcement on his visit was made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview to the CNN while she was in New Delhi early this week.

She said she was dispatching her senior aide to India for talks with Indian officials on Iranian issues. "We are working with them to help them in any way that we can offer technical assistance, and next week my energy coordinator, Ambassador Carlos Pascual, will be here in India with a team of experts," Clinton had told the CNN.

India, which imports 80 per cent of its crude oil and relies on Tehran for 12 per cent of those imports, has said it needed to continue to buy Iranian oil to meet its domestic requirements.