Hillary Clinton presses India to cut oil imports from Iran

US Secretary of State uses tour of India to strengthen ties between world's largest democracies
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stepped up pressure on ally India on Monday to further reduce its Iranian oil imports, making clear Washington wanted to see further action before granting New Delhi a waiver from U.S. financial sanctions.\n (AFP/Getty Images)
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energy-hungry country. Publicly, India has rejected Western sanctions but privately it has pushed local refiners to start cutting imports of oil from Iran by 15-20 percent. (AFP/Getty Images)
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The issue has become an irritant in ties between the two allies. India is unwilling to be seen to be bowing to US pressure and is reluctant to become too reliant on Saudi Arabia for its oil needs, which officials say privately would be strategically unwise.\n (AFP/Getty Images)
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Clinton said Washington wanted to tighten the noose of economic sanctions on Iran to force it to the negotiating table over its nuclear programme, which the United States and other nations fear is a cover to build an atomic bomb. (AFP/Getty Images)
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"So we think India, as a country that understands the importance of trying to use diplomacy to try to resolve these difficult threats, is certainly working toward lowering their purchase of Iranian oil," Clinton told a townhall-style meeting in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata. (AFP/Getty Images)
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) meets with Professor Mohammed Yunus (C) and Sir Fazie Abed in Dhaka on May 6, 2012. Clinton urged Bangladesh to pull out of a spiral of political turmoil, saying the impoverished nation's democratic credentials were at stake. (AFP/Getty Images)