India and US share strategic aim in Iran: Burns

india usa flagWASHINGTON: US believes that India has taken a “smart long term strategy” by reducing import of oil from Iran and both countries share a “strategic aim” with regard to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

“I don’t think India needs much convincing about the strategic dangers of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said here.

Burns added that India and the US share a clear strategic aim in stopping Iran from going nuclear because of all the obvious risks that would ensue in a region in the Middle East that already has more than its share of instability, the dangers of a nuclear arms race and everything else that could come from that.

“India has taken some steps over the course of the past year to diversify its sources of energy, which is a smart long-term strategy. A part of that has been reducing its dependence on oil purchases from Iran,” he said.

Burns emphasized that there have been consistent efforts by the international community to demonstrate that there are consequences to Iran for not meeting its international obligations. Again, those pressures have never been an end in themselves.

“These efforts are designed to try to produce an Iran that’s prepared to sit down at the negotiating table and deal seriously with those international obligations,” Burns said.

Referring to the India US Energy Dialogue in September, Burns said the Department of Energy is looking very carefully at what might be done with regard to India’s request to import shell gas from US. I hope relatively soon we’ll be able to come to some conclusions on that.

Burns added that India has an interest in diversifying its sources of hydrocarbons, as it has been looking increasingly to Iraq and Saudi Arabia for oil and North America may provide some new possibilities in the future.

“But in the area of renewables, I think there’s also a great deal that we can do together and that’s connected to the environmental concerns,” he said.

Burns argued that there’s a great deal of common ground between US and India. That’ll lead to cooperation in areas like water security too, which, again is an increasing challenge for India and something to which US can contribute based on it’s experience over the years, he said.-PTI

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