File photo of Amit Shah
File photo of Amit Shah

Shah chairs meeting with senior ministers on oil purchase


New Delhi, June 4, 2019

A month after 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 the 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.
Shah also held a series of detailed meetings on issues in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast region.
Shah focussed on security and development initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the Assembly elections likely in October-November this year and the Amarnath Yatra which would commence on July 1 and conclude on August 15, an official said. 
It was learnt that the Home Minister emphasized the need to keep up pressure on terrorists and ensure an incident-free Assembly Elections and Amarnath Yatra, the official said, adding that the situation in the border areas was also discussed. 
Issues concerning the Constitution's Article 35A and Article 370, which allows the state a separate flag and constitution, were also discussed in the meeting in which Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Jain and Additional Secretary (Jammu and Kashmir) Kumar Gyanesh and top officials of the ministry were present. 
Since assuming charge on June 1, Shah has held two meetings over Jammu and Kashmir's issues and the one on Tuesday was the third. 
Besides, Shah also held another meeting on northeast's issues that comprises completion of the NRC exercise in Assam within the Supreme Court's deadline. The NRC exercise poses an immediate challenge for the ministry. 
Joint Secretary, Northeast, Satyendra Garg gave a detailed presentation about the issues in the northeastern states. 

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