Shah chairs meeting with senior ministers on oil purchase

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Shah chairs meeting with senior ministers on oil purchaseA month after the the US waiver for India to import oil from Iran came to an end, top ministers of the Narendra Modi government held a meeting here on Tuesday, during which ways are understood to have been explored about how to tide over the situation.

The 40-minute meeting was chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah and was attended by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant was also present.

The meeting was on petroleum issue, said a source, but refused to divulge details.

However, it is understood that the discussions were about the steps the government should take in the wake of the US decision to end its waiver to India to import oil from Iran because of sanctions.

The United States in April announced that it would not extend the exemptions granted in November last year to India and seven other countries for importing oil from Iran for a period of 180 days, which expired on May 2.

The decision can lead to a difficult situation in India with regard to its energy needs since Iran is one of the top sources of the country’s oil imports.

The government had last month said a decision on the issue would be taken after the Lok Sabha elections which got over on May 23.

Two weeks after the US decision came into force, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif travelled here and met the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. After her meeting with Zarif, she had said a decision on India’s oil imports will be taken after the elections keeping in mind India’s commercial considerations, energy security and economic interests.

IANS

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