Foreign Secretary: No Proposal to Match Russian Deal on Table With US in Energy Sector for India
New Delhi. Despite including energy as a "major new component" of its bilateral ties, India is not expecting any concrete discussion on a long-term energy agreement with the US, similar to one signed with Russia, as part of a five-year roadmap for cooperation in the energy sector.
Days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's crucial US visit beginning 21 September, India's Ministry of External Affairs made the statement on Thursday, during a media briefing held in Delhi.
Besides meeting US President Donald Trump, during his US-visit Modi is scheduled to meet business leaders in the energy sector, in a massive business gathering organised in Houston, the most populous city in the US state of Texas.
Replying to Sputnik's query regarding the prospects for some concrete agreement with the US in the energy sector, for instance, similar to the agreement India signed with Russia earlier this month, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said: "I do not think any concrete discussion in terms of five years of cooperation will emerge, because that (with Russia) was an inter-governmental arrangement between India and Russia."
Modi is set to meet energy majors from the top American and foreign companies in Houston, where they will talk about "prospects for investment and trade in the oil and gas sector" said the spokesperson.
India's annual import of oil and gas is worth about $4 billion at present,told Sputnik.
On 4 September, Indian Prime Minister Modi and Russian President Putin agreed to explore the joint development of oil and gas fields in both countries, including offshore sources, with energy emerging as a "new pillar of cooperation".
"With the signing of the roadmap for cooperation on hydrocarbons for 2019-24 during the summit, both sides expect bilateral cooperation in this sector to reach new heights in the next five years," a joint statement by India-Russia stated.
On Wednesday, India also agreed to ratchet up crude supplies from Russia given the recent attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities.
Meanwhile, India again reiterated that it meets the criteria for the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme which has been conferred upon developing countries by the US, to export goods without paying duties.
The US had revoked the GSP status of India that allowed duty-free entry for up to $5.6 billion worth of its annual exports to the US, citing the lack of reciprocal market access.