Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:59PM
There is considerable relief in New Delhi as US waived India from Iran-related sanctions, Indian officials were quick to point out that it was a domestic decision that had come straight from the White House. With the exception of China six other countries have also been exempted from sanctions because they had significantly reduced their crude oil imports from Iran. Malaysia, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan now also join the 11 countries that have been exempted. India has cut crude oil imports from Iran to 17.44 million tons in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, from 18.50 million tons in last financial year. The target fixed for import of crude oil from Iran for 2012-13 is about 15.5 million tones. Over the past few months New Delhi was in a fix regarding it's payments to oil from Iran and was doing so in Euros via a bank in Turkey. Insurance companies will no longer have to face issues regarding extending cover to ships ferrying oil from Iran. After the historic agreement on the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2006, India and the US have enhanced their cooperation in various fields especially inthe defense sector where they seem to have made significant progress. The US is now keen to bag defense deals worth 8billion US$ after having lost out to France for the 12.billion US$ deal for supplying fighter aircraft to the India Air force. The US is also very keen to involve India as a partner in it's role in Afghanistan. The US-India Strategic Dialogue which is due on Wednesday in Washington and will not have Iran on the agenda, India has argued in the past that it accepted only sanctions approved by the United Nations and not by the US. Analysts point out that with the US engaged in a strategic dialogue with India where investments of billions of dollars are at stake, upsetting India knowing well it's excellent relations with Iran and not granting a waiver would have been a huge setback.