India progressing in reducing oil imports from Iran: Blake

Washington: India has made a considerable progress in reducing its dependence on Iranian oil, a top Obama administration official has said.

"Progress is being made," on India reducing its dependence on Iranian oil, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.

Responding to the questions from Congressmen, Blake said India is making progress in this regard not because of any pressure from the US, but because of "financial and commercial considerations".

As a result of the US sanctions on Iran, it is becoming tough for countries to do business with Iran. Many Indian companies have pulled out of Iran because of market considerations.

So percentage of Indian import of oil from Iran is going down, Blake said, adding that the United States welcomes this.

Referring to the recent visit of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton to India, Blake said that Clinton herself had welcomed the progress that India has made in reducing its dependence on Iranian oil.

During her India trip, Clinton noted that both the United States and India share the same goal on Iran to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

"We continue to urge India to make progress and continue to reduce its import of oil from Iran," Blake said, responding to questions at a hearing on South Asia convened by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Sub Committee on the Middle East and South Asia.

Responding to a question, Blake conceded that the United States is assisting India in identifying alternative source of energy other than that of Iran.

In Indian case, Blake said, they have to have a long term policy of sourcing oil from Saudi Arabia. Among the recent important sources of oil is Iraq, he said.

}