But in her book ‘Hard Choices’ that hit the stores today, Clinton discloses that her visit to India was with the sole purpose of convincing New Delhi to reduce its dependence on Iranian oil, which was successful by the end of her trip.
Clinton writes that she decided to visit India to personally convince the Indian leadership on this issue as it was the only major country which was not willing to follow the American line.
India, she writes, initially publicly refused Western entreaties to reduce its reliance on Iranian oil. “In our private conversations Indian leaders agreed that peace in the Middle East was important
and were acutely aware that six million Indians lived and worked in the Gulf and could be
vulnerable to political or economic instability,” the 66-year-old leader writes.
“At the same time, though, India’s fast-growing economy depended on a steady supply of energy, and they worried that their energy needs were so great that there was no viable way to meet them without Iranian oil,” she says.
“Left unsaid was another reason for their reluctance: India, which had championed the
‘nonaligned movement’ during the Cold War and still prized its ‘strategic autonomy’, simply hated to be told what to do. The more loudly we urged them to change course, the more likely they were to dig in their heels,” she notes.
“In May 2012, I visited New Delhi to make the case in person,” Clinton says in her book.
“I argued that maintaining a unified international front was the best way to persuade Iran to return to the negotiating table, achieve a diplomatic solution to the impasse, and avoid a destabilizing military conflict. I outlined the advantages of a diversified energy supply and talked about potential alternatives to Iran available on the market,” she says.
“I also assured the Indians that, if they took positive steps, we would make clear that it was their decision, however they chose to characterize it. All we cared about was the end result, not beating our chest. That seemed to make a difference,” Clinton writes stating that India finally agreed.
“In the end our efforts led to every major Iranian customer, even the most reluctant, agreeing to reduce their purchases of Iran’s oil,” Clinton says.
Iran was India’s second-biggest crude oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, meeting about 12 per cent of the country’s needs till 2012. But India reduced its dependence on Iranian oil in the wake of US and European sanctions on the import of oil from the Islamic Republic.