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Cong slams govt over decline in oil imports from Iran, says PM a 'paper tiger'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The today slammed the government over the decline in India's imports from in June, saying it shows that Modi is a "paper tiger" who has given in to US pressure.

India's imports from showed a decline of over 25 per cent in June, but some shipments loaded last month are expected to arrive this month, government and industry officials had said yesterday.

alleged the reduction in import from once again proves that Modi's foreign policy is "confusing and circular".

The has "once again prioritised" the US' interests over India's national interests when it comes to controlling fuel prices, he told reporters here.

The reduction in import of oil from Iran will directly squeeze the pockets of the common man, reduce the supply, increase the fuel prices and bloat the current account deficit, he claimed.

"As far as oil goes, the has a unique policy that profit is mine and loss is yours," Shergill said.

After scaling to around 770,000 barrels per day in May, imports from Iran were down to 570,000 bpd in June, as considers acquiescing to US Donald Trump's demands for ending from Iran by November 4.

Officials had said that the actual shipment reaching Indian shores has shown a decline but some of the oil that was loaded in June arrived this month and has not been accounted for in the June numbers.

Hitting out at the government for the decline, Shergill said the prime minister should clarify why when it comes to oil, "the is always at a win-win position and the Indian consumer is always at a loss-loss position".

"is in a unique situation that instead of providing a healing touch to the Indian consumer due to falling international prices (of oil), the provides a 'stealing touch' to the Indian citizens," he said.

"The reduction in import of oil from Iran, shows that PM Modi is a paper tiger who has crumbled and given in to the pressure of US," Shergill said.

He stressed that the under Manmohan Singh had "balanced the interests" between Iran and the US, protected consumer interest, and stood up against America, while Prime Minister Modi has "buckled under" the US pressure.

Meanwhile, former Vice Hamid Ansari, speaking on the issue of oil imports, told reporters that Iran is an important country for India, and not just as an

"We have to keep in mind two things. We get a good amount of from Iran. But Iran is not only an Iran is a big and important country for us. It is a country which is next to and So when we look at Iran we have to understand these things too."

"In today's newspapers there is a statement from that they understand In such situations, where there is pressure on both the countries, governments tend to find their own ways. And in our government there are people who would take steps which are good for the country," he said.

Shergill claimed that the reduction in from Iran was a double blow to the Indian consumer.

The asked if the BJP government had a plan to protect Indian customers from rising fuel prices due to the reduction of from Iran and why the Modi dispensation had "succumbed under US pressure".

He said the government should make it clear how it would fill the supply vacuum which will be created after Iran stops sending oil.

"India should not surrender its autonomy of policy decisions to the government. Why is PM Modi allowing the to dictate India's policy decisions which must be taken for the sake of every Indian consumer?" Shergill said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 12 2018. 19:05 IST