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India: Washington vs. Tehran in New Delhi this week

India seeks to balance Washington and Tehran, as a delegation from Iran overlaps with Hillary Clinton

India is walking a tightrope this week, as a delegation from Tehran overlaps with Hillary Clinton's visit to New Delhi to push for a further reduction in India's oil imports from Iran. 

On Tuesday, a day after Clinton called for more action from India to comply with the US sanctions on oil purchases from Iran, Indian and Iranian officials met to hash out agreements that would help India correct its current trade deficit with Iran and increase economic ties between the two countries, India's Economic Times reports.

Notably, an increase in Indian exports to Iran might facilitate a barter agreement that would allow India access to Iranian oil despite US efforts to block banking transactions related to such purchases.

The Indian Express reported that Clinton and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh discussed the “dual approach” of sanctions against Iran and engagement with its government during a 30-minute meeting on Monday evening. Clinton did not raise the issue of cutting oil imports from Iran, the paper cited Indian government sources as saying.

Meanwhile, the Diplomat notes that "Indo-U.S. bilateral trade exceeded $100 billion for the first time last year, and there are a number of ongoing initiatives in areas like renewable energy and energy efficiency. India and the U.S. have also agreed to establish a higher education dialogue, the official said. This will build on progress that was made on science, technology and innovation agreements during President Obama’s India visit in 2010."

One wonders if Singh was able to convince Clinton that the dual approach should include more "engagement" from the Indian side, drawing a parallel to India's continued support of the Burmese government against US pressure.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/india/india-washington-tehran-delhi

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