Washington, Oct 26: US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will soon urge Indian officials not to move forward with a planned pipeline project that would bring Iranian natural gas to India, a senior Treasury official said.
''We're hoping that India won't move forward on this,'' US Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David McCormick told a news briefing ahead of Paulson's four-day trip to India.
''We think at a time when the world should be imposing greater discipline on its interactions with (Iranian) companies and financial institutions and the Iranian government more broadly, that this is not the right path forward.'' Yesterday, the United States imposed more sanctions on Iran, including its Revolutionary Guards Corp, its elite Qods force and three of its state banks, including its largest, Bank Melli, Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat, citing links to terrorism and weapons proliferation.
McCormick said the project would do little to provide energy security for India. He said that would be better achieved by proceeding with a deal with the United States that would provide India with civilian nuclear technology and bring it into the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
Although he listed discussing ways for India to more forward on the Doha round of global trade talks as a top priority for Paulson, he said the trip was not a trade mission.
''Secretary Paulson's trip is not in any way focused on negotiations around trade. His message will be simply reinforcing what the president has said, and that's that Doha is enormously important, and that we simply can't let it fail,'' McCormick said.
Paulson said on Wednesday said India could play a leadership role in a Doha trade deal if it were to show willingness to provide more access to its non-agricultural markets, especially services.