India to pick Iran over Israel for petro meet

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SummaryTaiwan and to extend official government invitations without diplomatic consideration was against norms.

India has reportedly decided to invite Iran but keep Israel out of its most prestigious international petroleum conference, Petrotech-2014, to be held next month. The decision was made after consultations within the government over the last few weeks.

The Indian Express had reported last month that the external affairs ministry protested the petroleum ministry decision to invite Israel and Taiwan to Petrotech-2014, saying the move could be a diplomatic disaster.

The invitations sent, it is learnt, had since been “frozen”.

The petroleum ministry and ONGC organising Petrotech 2014, a biennial event, decided to send official invitations to the two countries without MEA consent.

The MEA has conveyed to the petroleum ministry that inviting Israel was like waving the red flag to all oil-rich Arab-Islamic countries that attend the conference in large numbers. Sources said the MEA view was that this could even trigger diplomatic protests.

The sources said South Block had reminded the petroleum ministry that India does not enjoy full diplomatic relations with Taiwan and to extend official government invitations without diplomatic consideration was against norms.

More importantly, a move like this would most likely trigger a protest from China and derail the January 12-15 conference, a showcase event of the petroleum ministry.

Much of the organisation of the event was left to ONGC, which sent these invitations. Now, South Block has moved to limit the damage.

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