The India Iran US quandary ! Why India must stand by Iran

Source:-The India Iran US quandary ! Why India must stand by Iran

The United States has been losing its status as the strongest superpower since the end of the Cold War. The current international superpower dynamic is transitioning from a unipolar system with the United States as its center to a bipolar system with China occupying the other pole.

With the Trump administration abruptly introducing the “US First” policy, the 21st century world order is undergoing a sea change .

India’s first PM Nehru was one of key leaders who participated in the formulation of “Panchsheel Doctrine” of Peaceful Coexistence. Today, being a developing country, India should proactively pursue an approach, that reflect her a as neutral ally. While India shares a good economical relationship with the US, it should not line up with the United States of America to leverage the US sanctions on Iran .

The recent disputes on the National Solar Mission with US, who took India to the WTO dispute redressal mechanism over the “domestic content requirement” clause for manufacturing of solar panel units, has strained the booming Indo-US relationship. Further the US has carefully drafted the India-US defense logistics agreement (LEMOA & COMCASA) which can put India in a fix if US engages in war with any nation. Though the discussions are underway for the modification of this agreement, India should in principle refrain from signing it. Simultaneously, the US seeks to draw India into their dependency by pulling it away from Russia. It had therefore offered India the Patriot Missile systems in lieu of the Russian S-400, which India refused and then subsequently the THAAD missile systems. The CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) has been passed by the US Senate, without even considering Indian requests, thus opening India to US sanctions in case it procures military hardware from Russia, one of our most trusted friends over decades. Simultaneously, the US has asked India to stop its oil purchases from Iran by November 4, as they have placed sanctions on Iran.

The India-Iran relations span millennia marked by meaningful interactions. The two countries shared a border till 1947 and share several common features in their language, culture and traditions. From Teheran Declaration in 2001 to the New Delhi Declaration, Iran has been a trusted ally of India. Further India’s participation in the construction of the Chabahar Port has benefitted India economically as it can carry out trade in Central Asia bypassing Pakistan which has been a perennial problem for India to handle. Also the proposed India – Iran Gas pipeline will benefit India to meet her energy needs. While India is emerging as a regional power in the South and South East Asia , it should balance equations equally with the US and China. Too much dependence on either one is not desired and India should focus on benefitting from both.

India’s western frontier is perennially problematic and over the last decade India has started to focus on the east with the “Act East Policy” . However China’s famous “String of Pearls” propaganda followed by the China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through the disputed regions and the South China Sea dispute is a matter of grave concern for India. Similarly with the US’s strong protectionism attitude and the “US first Policy”, India will not be gaining immensely from the Indo-US economic exchanges, but any anti-US measure by India will cost her dearly as it may loose other prospective economic partners like Japan, France etc.

So India’s approach should be to remain neutral in the undergoing geopolitical realignments. While Iran is a trusted ally of India, India should go ahead and carry forward Indo-Iran trade that includes oil and gas along with trade through the Chabahar Port. Further India should also protect her interests in the Indo–US relations and not play into the hands of the US to align with it. On her eastern fronts, India should engage China diplomatically and continue the Sino-Indian economic activities while making inroads into the south east areas of Laos, Cambodia, and others, because China’s economic revolution has affected India economically. India should engage with her and not estrange the relations, banking on US help as India’s immediate neighbor is China, with whom India shares a long boundary and any mess with China, who is slowly emerging as a global economic power will be a loss for India . The relevance of the Panchsheel Doctrine has increased manifold in the present geopolitical order and India being one of the propounder should uphold it in true spirit.






Source:- Blog TNN – Tehseen Ponawalla 

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