Modi raises India's concern over energy security and peace in Persian Gulf region
Osaka, Jun 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday voiced India's concern over energy security and peace in the strategic Persian Gulf region as he discussed the raging US-Iran tensions with President Donald Trump.
The Modi-Trump meeting here on the sidelines of the G20 Summit came at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the US, which has accused Tehran of being behind a series of operations against oil tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters. Last week, the Pentagon said that Iranian forces had shot down a US surveillance drone.
Prime Minister Modi in his initial remarks mentioned Iran as one of the four topics he would discuss with President Trump.
Briefing the media on the Modi-Trump talks, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the primary focus was on how to ensure stability in the Persian Gulf region.
"It is that instability affects us in many ways, not just in terms our energy needs but in terms of the very large diaspora that we have in the Gulf, eight million Indians in the Gulf region and economic interests," he said.
"The two leaders agreed that they and their officials will continuously remain in touch to ensure that the region remains stable and I think that is in our interest and in the interest of the United States and in the interest of the region," he said.
"The Prime Minister outlined our energy concerns as well as our concerns regarding peace and stability in the region," Gokhale said.
Prime Minister Modi pointed out that although Iran supplied 11 per cent of the country's energy requirements, India had reduced oil imports from Iran but these were despite the effect it had on the Indian economy we had been able to sustain this position.
"We also had our diaspora in the region, we have energy requirements of the region, we have economic interests in the region and therefore it is in India's fundamental interest to ensure peace and stability of the region," he said.
Modi also told Trump that India has deployed some of its naval ships in the region to protect the Indian flagged vessels passing through the Gulf and the straits of Hormuz.
"This was appreciated very much by the President Trump and they had a brief discussion. The President expressed his hope that oil prices will remain stable. He talked about what United States was doing to ensure that stability was maintained in the Gulf and that oil prices were stable," Gokhale said.
He said both the sides agreed that they would remain in touch on the issue of Iran and will continue to have mutual discussion on how to ensure regional peace and stability.
The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November last after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. To reduce Iran's crude oil export to zero, the US ended on May 2 waivers that had allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months.
India has ended all imports of oil from Iran to comply with the US sanctions.