Notwithstanding U.S. pressure to reduce its oil dependence on Iran, India said it will continue to remain the biggest buyer of crude oil from the sanction-hit country and its companies will find ways to work around the financial restrictions imposed on oil purchases.
“We are still the biggest buyers of oil. We will continue doing so. Companies pick and chose,” government sources said while noting that the companies had trouble with insurance which was being resolved.
They said, the companies will also analyze the impact of these sanctions on their other businesses.
Asked about the status of requests by Iranian banks to open up branches in India, the sources said this will eventually happen.
There are some technical issues which were being looked into, they said.
The remarks, ahead of the bilateral meetings between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Iranian leadership, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, assume significance given the fact that U.S. is pushing India and other countries to reduce their engagement with Iran in a bid to put pressure on Tehran.
Though New Delhi has reduced supply of crude oil from Tehran, Iran still remains one of the biggest suppliers of oil to energy-deficient India.