Hyderabad: India need not take an aggressive position in public on the issue of US sanctions on nations defying its directive to bring their oil imports from Iran to zero by November 4, said a former Indian diplomat.

India has to play a cautious role, and that priority should be in the country's national interests, former Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia Oman and the UAE Talmiz Ahmad said.

"India's national interests lie in maintaining relations with Iran while at the same time not totally alienating the United States," he added.

"And what India will do and I think that's the correct policy that there will be some reduction in oil imports for a short period and at the same time discussions with the United States will continue in order to ensure that the US policy becomes more accommodative," Ahmad said.

He was of the view that over a period of time or as early as six months, the entire sanctions regime would "collapse".

"My own view is that we don't need to take an aggressive position in public but constantly sub-serve our own interests and wait for that time when the United States' absurd policy is revised by the international community or the US itself," he said.

Ahmad said this had to be done quietly without going public and ensuring the country's interests was safeguarded.

According to him, there would be some reduction in oil purchases from Iran in the short term but it's not likely to continue for a longer period.