India says open to importing more oil and gas from US
14 November 2018
India is open to importing more oil and gas from the United States, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Wednesday after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US vice president Mike Pence on the sidelines of a summit of Asian leaders looking for a regional free-trade agreement.
“We expressed our readiness to import more gas and more oil from the United States as a way of expanding trade,” Gokhale told reporters on the sidelines of the RCEP summit in Singapore, which is being attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The United States early this month re-imposed sanctions on Iran making it difficult for oil importing countries, especially from Asia, to meet energy demand. President trump has since relented, fearing a price spike, and granted to eight Asian countries, including India, on importing oil from Iran.
India is expected to import about $4 billion of oil from the United States this year, Gokhale said.
Meanwhile, US President Donald trump has commented that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a good friend, India is a tough negotiator when it comes to trade, meaning that he expects concessions.
Besides trade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US vice president Mike Pence, who met in Singapore today, discussed countering terrorism.
The meeting between PM Modi and Pence comes weeks after US president Donald Trump turned down PM Modi's invite to India's Republic Day as chief guest due to "scheduling constraints". There have been much speculations about the India-US ties over India's defence purchases from Russia and oil imports from Iran.
PM Modi began his day by attending the Singapore Fintech Summit where he urged start-ups to invest in India. "I say this to all the fintech companies and start-ups, India is your best destination," he said. PM Modi is the first head of government to deliver the keynote address at the event, one of the largest events on financial technology.
"Financial inclusion has become a reality for 1.3 billion Indians," PM Modi said. He said India has generated more than 1.2 billion Aadhaar biometric identities in just a few years. He said more than a billion biometric identities, bank accounts and cell phones give India the biggest public infrastructure in the world.
The East Asia Summit is a premier leaders-led forum in the Indo-Pacific Region comprising of the 10 ASEAN member nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam) and its eight dialogue partners - India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Russia.