U.S. watching India energy deals with Iran

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: Expressing objection to India's energy deals with Iran, the United States has said that such engagements "raise concerns under U.S. law and policy."

"A troubling aspect of the recent surge in overseas energy deals by India is its willingness to invest in countries that are pursuing policies that are harmful to global stability," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs E. Anthony Wayne told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington.

"Indian firms have reportedly been involved in oil and gas-sector deals in Iran that raise concerns under U.S. law and policy," he said.

"For example, Indian and Pakistani officials are engaged in detailed discussions on the technical, financial and legal aspects of building a $4 billion pipeline that would bring Iranian natural gas to Pakistan and India, a project that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said also raises U.S. concerns," Wayne said.

The deals with Iran and Sudan "can undermine efforts to encourage policy changes that will reduce global instability and energy security for all".

"Industry analysts have noted that in their rush to stake claims around the world, Indian national oil companies have accepted terms that would often not be considered commercially viable for major Western oil companies," he said.

"India has significant upstream investments in Sudan's energy sector. Additional sources of oil and gas on the world market are, of course, welcome, and for over two decades U.S. international energy policy has promoted the reduction of barriers to energy and trade investment around the world as a means to enhance global energy security," he said.

However, the economic support such investment provides to regimes such as Iran and Sudan can undermine efforts to encourage policy changes that will reduce global instability and enhance energy security for all, he added.

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