Following fresh US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme that puts the strategic Chabahar port in jeopardy and calls for a complete stop to all Iranian oil exports, India is in touch with all stakeholders in the matter, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.
“We are very closely monitoring the developments and assessing their implications,” ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a media briefing here.
“We are in touch with all stakeholders in the matter,” Kumar said.
The sanctions on Tehran that will come into effect in November have jeopardised the Chabahar port project in Iran, being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan.
The port facilitates access to Afghanistan by bypassing Pakistan and is also a vital link in the International North-South Transport Corridor.
“Chabahar is a very important project for us not only for access to Afghanistan and Central Asia but also for Afghanistan itself for our own developmental assistance and developmental programmes in Afghanistan,” Kumar said.
He said that the matter figured in the discussions during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi on September 6 in which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis participated.
“I can say that these discussions have led to a better understanding by the US of our objectives, concerns, sensitivities and expectations,” the spokesperson said.
Also, with the new US fresh sanctions, there have been concerns in New Delhi as India is heavily reliant on Iran for crude oil imports.
“We, of course, will continue to work with the United States and other stakeholders to ensure our energy security and also our national interests,” Kumar said.
Earlier this month, briefing the media about the 2+2 Dialogue, a senior US State Department official said that there has been expert-level discussions between India and the US on issues related to crude oil exports from Iran and ways to bring those exports down.
Stating that these conversations are ongoing, Principal Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Alice Wells said: “We are working very hard with our partners so that there are no disruptions in the market and adequate supply is available to substitute for Iranian oil.”