Iran in focus during Pompeo's visit to India; New Delhi takes measures to protect interest

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 22, 2019, 07.34 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

File photo of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The import of oil from Iran has been one of the key contentions between New Delhi and Washington after American waivers ended on sanctions imposed by Washington.

Iran and the current situation in Strait of Hormuz will be on agenda when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits India next week.

While the US has appreciated the steps India has taken to reduce Iranian oil import, it is also providing an exception to New Delhi-backed Chabahar project that has been a key connectivity project of India.

The import of oil from Iran has been one of the key contentions between New Delhi and Washington after American waivers ended on sanctions imposed by Washington but the current standoff between Iran and US is something that has been a cause of worry for New Delhi. 

Last week, reports emerged that the US President had planned to attack Iran after Tehran shot down an American drone. This has caused considerable tension in Strait of Hormuz, a vital area connecting Persian Gulf and sea of Oman through which 20 per cent of global crude oil and a third of liquefied natural gas passes.

Watch: Pompeo to visit India next week to seek India's cooperation on Iran

Energy interests

Meanwhile, New Delhi is keeping its interest secure. Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan has called Saudi oil minister Khalid Al Falih conveying India's concern on rising crude oil prices in backdrop of the developments in the Strait of Hormuz. 

Pradhan, in a tweet, said that he "reiterated the sensitivity of Indian consumers to prevailing crude oil price volatility," adding, New Delhi has sought an active role from Riyadh which is part of oil cartel OPEC in keeping "oil prices at a reasonable level".

Aviation

Impacts will also be seen on the aviation front with Indian airlines re-routing the flights in that area. Civil aviation regulator DGCA or Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Saturday announced that Indian carriers will avoid "the affected part of Iranian Airspace" to ensure safe travel for the passengers. 

This comes after the American civil aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration or FAA banned American flights from using the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and sea of Oman area.

Shipping 

Last week, the Indian Navy launched Operation Sankalp in the Persian Gulf/Sea of Oman as a measure to re-assure Indian flagged vessels transiting through the region. 

The Navy deployed INS Chennai and INS Sunayna in the area to undertake Maritime Security operations. Aerial surveillance has also being undertaken by India and the Information Fusion Centre - Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram - is also keeping a close watch on the movement of ships in the Gulf. 

The Navy in a release said it, "remains committed to ensuring the safety of Indian maritime trade and merchant vessels operating in the region and contributing towards maintaining a stable and peaceful Indian Ocean Region."

DG Shipping had issued two advisories, one on June 13 and another on June 16 to all Indian Flagged Vessels advising them to undertake appropriate protection measures.