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Anti-India campaign gains ground in US

Washington(PTI): Piggybacking on the anti-Iranian sentiments, an anti-India campaign seems to be gaining ground in the United States.

This comes amidst escalation in tension between Iran and Israel and the United States slapping additional sanctions on the Iranian regime.

The anti-India lobby, which was lying low for the past several years in the aftermath of the historic Indo-US civil nuclear deal, is using the opportunity to portray New Delhi as a “villain” which is providing an escape route to the Iranian regime from international sanctions.

This week alone, the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, has received two letters — one from two key lawmakers and other from the powerful Israeli lobby in Washington — against India’s relationship with Iran.

Friends of India at the Capitol Hill and the Obama administration believe that this might gain momentum in the coming days as the anti-India lobby wants to capitalise on the popular anti-Iran sentiments here and vilify the India-Iran oil trade, quite ignorant of the fact that India’s purchase of oil from Iran has come down in last few years.

India, in 2008-09, purchased 21.8 million tonnes of oil from Iran, which dropped to 21 million in 2009-10, and 18.5 million tonnes in 2010-11. Even percentage wise too, there has been considerable drop in India’s reliance on Iranian oil from 16.5 per cent in 2008-09 to 13 per cent in 2009-10 and 11 per cent in 2010-11.

Latest figures estimate that it has further dropped to 10 per cent.
However, the anti-India lobby here does not seem to take note of these publicly available figures and instead wants India to cut-off all its oil purchase from Iran; which experts say would plunge India into a deep energy crisis.

Obama administration officials note that they are oblivious of the fact. This is the reason why, both the White House and the State Department have gone on record several times in the past one week that the US does not want to implement Iranian sanctions in a way that hurts its allies.

“The US is implementing sanctions on Iran in a way that had the desired effect just to pressure and isolate Iran further, and did not have unintended consequences for any of its allies, or more broadly, for the international oil market,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday.

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