Indian Ambassador: 'India's Poor Depend On Iranian Oil' 16:21
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Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao. (Robin Lubbock/Here & Now)
Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao. (Robin Lubbock/Here & Now)

Iran has caused a bump in the burgeoning relationship between India and the U.S. India has become the biggest importer of Iranian oil--even as the U.S. leads an international push for more sanctions against Iran to curb the country's nuclear program.

American officials have called for India to join the sanctions, but Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao says that Indians depend on Iranian oil.

"The volume of oil that we import from Iran is declining, and it will obviously have to continue to decline, but it's going to take time."

Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao

"We have to meet the energy needs of hundreds of millions of people, and please remember at least 400 million people are in poverty," she told Here & Now's Robin Young.

"We are certainly not wanting a situation where there is such a crisis that the prices of oil go through the ceiling-- it's going to affect lives of poor people in India."

Rao said that India has to rely on outside countries for oil, and they are trying to diversify their sources.

"The volume of oil that we import from Iran is declining, and it will obviously have to continue to decline, but it's going to take time," she said. "Since this is a grown up relationship between India and the United States, we've been very open and candid about what our constraints are."

In a wide ranging conversation with Here and Now's Robin Young, Rao also addressed her country's relationship with neighboring Pakistan.

Improving India-Pakistan Relations

When asked how to improve the strained ties, Rao said, "Pride and prejudice has to be replaced by sense and sensibility. We want to increase trade and business... and most of all, we want to see an end to terrorism because the threat of terrorism is what could destabilize this dialogue."

Are Indians Taking American Jobs?

Rao also addressed the idea that American companies are outsourcing jobs to India.

"One of the untold stories in America has been the fact that Indian companies, both manufacturing and services, they have invested a great deal in the United States, at last count it was $26 billion... across 43 states," she said.

Guest:

This segment aired on February 24, 2012.

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