20:13 GMT17 January 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): A day after Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down an American spy drone on 20 June, the Indian Navy decided to deploy warships and aircraft to the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, claiming the measure was to re-assure Indian flagged vessels travelling through the area.

    A day after Washington imposed sanctions on Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and "those closely affiliated with him", the Indian government has called for the de-escalation of tensions between the US and Iran.

    Diplomatic sources in New Delhi reiterated that the same will be conveyed to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrives in India on Tuesday night.

    "India is concerned about the situation because of the large diaspora (living in the region). India wants the situation to de-escalate and will urge Iran and the US to take steps towards diffusing tensions " officials said.

    The officials further stated that India will discuss US sanctions on Iranian crude imports with the US Secretary of State. “We have yet to take a decision on Iranian crude oil… The decision will be made soon and will be based on the country’s energy security and commercial considerations,” the source added.

    Last week, the Indian Navy deployed two warships, one to the Gulf of Oman and the other to the Persian Gulf. The ships, a Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyer and a Saryu-class offshore patrol vessel are present to reassure Indian-flagged vessels transiting the waters in the area.

    The Indian Navy has also deployed personnel to Indian crude carriers in the Persian Gulf to escort the oil tankers in and out of the Strait of Hormuz.

    ​The Strait of Hormuz - a stretch of water between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman - is a crucial shipping route for energy-hungry India, as the south Asian nation imports around 63 per cent of its crude oil via this route alone. India fears that sustained tensions in the region are most likely to increase insurance and shipping costs resulting in a costly crude basket for Indian oil refineries.

    Mike Pompeo who is visiting Delhi to prepare for the Trump-Modi meeting, will be briefed on the negative impact of the tensions and will hold delegation-level meetings with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Wednesday, where he will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


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    Crude oil, Persian Gulf, Iran, Mike Pompeo, United States, India
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