A top Trump administration official says Washington recognises India's energy needs and is talking to allies who can export oil to India after the US imposes sanctions on export of Iranian oil from November 4 onwards.
The US withdrew from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal earlier this year and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. Though the first phase of the sanctions is already in place, the full impact of the sanctions will be felt on November 4 when the US wants all countries, including India, to stop importing oil from Iran.
India − the second largest importer of Iranian oil after China − has already reduced importing Iranian oil but it has indicated that it won't be able to completely stop imports given its huge energy needs.
The US has warned that any country doing business with Iran will be blocked from accessing American banking and financial system. The sanctions don't have the backing of the UN and traditionally India only enforces sanctions authorised by the UN Security Council.
Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asia Region, told PTI that the US is consulting with its friends and partners to ensure that there are alternative supplies of oil to India so that its economy is not adversely affected.
She said Indian private importers are exploring new suppliers of oil and consultations are going on between American and India experts on implementations of sanctions.
On the impact of the US sanctions on other Indian-Iranian projects like the Chabahar port, Wells said the issue of Chabahar is under review.
"The US appreciates India for providing assistance to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port. India has allowed Afghanistan to diversify its trade relationships and again Chabahar has played a crucial role. We will take these factors into consideration," she said.
Located in Iran, Chabahar port has been developed by India and provides a gateway for trade not only between India, Iran and Afghanistan but also gives the three countries access to central Asian countries.