India opposed to any sanctions affecting people of Iran
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Washington, March 16: India on Tuesday said it is opposed to any sanctions on Iran that would have a direct impact on the common people of the country and hoped the issues between Tehran and the international community will be resolved through dialogue.
“It continues to be our view that sanctions that target Iranian people and cause difficulties to the ordinary man, woman and child would not be conducive to a resolution of this question,” Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said in response to a question at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington-based think-tank.
She was delivering a lecture on ‘Two Democracies -- Defining te Essence of India-US Partnership’
Led by the US, international community the UN Security Council in particular is now contemplating sanctions against Iran; though it is not known what form those sanctions would take place.
“We do not want more instability in that region. Iran is very much a part of our region. Iran for instance has a very important role to play in the developing situation in Afghanistan and we of course have strong bilateral ties with Iran,” the Foreign Secretary said.
Ms. Rao, who was in Tehran last month to hold talks with her Iranian counterparts, said India has long historical and cultural ties with Iran.
She said Iran needs to short this matter out with transparency and through meaningful dialogue with the international interlocutors concerned.
“We believe, Iran has both rights and responsibilities. Responsibilities, stemming from its membership of the NPT and also rights to develop its nuclear energy for peaceful process,” Ms. Rao said.
Hoping that the situation does not get complicated further, Foreign Secretary said that “we try and resolve this issue through further dialogue.”
India is following Brazil in throwing cold water on U.S. plans for strengthening sanctions on Iran. Speaking yesterday in Washington, India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was quite clear: “It continues to be our view that sanctions that target Iranian people and cause difficulties to the ordinary man, woman and child would not be conducive to a resolution of this question.” She then explained why New Delhi has a different perception of Iran than Washington: “We do not want more instability in that region. Iran is very much a part of our region. Iran for instance has a very important role to play in the developing situation in Afghanistan and we of course have strong bilateral ties with Iran.” And while the Indian government maintains that Indian firms are not supplying refined-petroleum products to Tehran—the subject of proposed new unilateral U.S. sanctions being considered by Congress—Jatin Prasada, the junior minister for petroleum and natural gas, told the Lok Sabha that the government “has conveyed to the US government that sanctions on Iran have proved to be counter-productive and that all differences with Iran should be resolved peacefully through dialogue and negotiation.”
India’s foreign-policy establishment has a different set of calculations when considering Iran. Washington still sees Tehran largely through the lens of its activities westward from the Persian Gulf: a threat to Gulf security, a supporter of anti-American movements in Iraq and Lebanon, a spoiler in the Arab-Israeli peace process. New Delhi views Iran as a critical regional partner, and with growing concerns about the future of Afghanistan, an essential component to preserve India’s influence in Central Asia. Former–Foreign Secretary Lilit Mansingh was quite blunt in his appraisal last week: “Unless India prepares for the time when the Americans pull out [of Afghanistan], we will not be in a position to face the political crisis that it will trigger.” His solution: revive the India-Russia-Iran “axis” which supported the Northern Alliance during the 1990s, to ensure against the revival of the Taliban. If that is the case, then India is not likely to be putting coercive pressure on Tehran anytime soon.
Some Americans believe that the prospect of lucrative commercial and technological deals with the United States will swing things Washington’s way. But Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to India last week dampens some of those expectations, with the number of new Russian-Indian contracts that were penciled in. Would India prefer more involvement from U.S. firms? Certainly. But at present, as Martin Walker noted yesterday: “American hopes of winning a major slice of these contracts have been stalled over an elusive agreement on reprocessing nuclear fuel. . . . Two far-reaching agreements on U.S.-Indian military cooperation have stalled, as have other projects for hi-tech and space research cooperation.”
The Obama administration has only a few weeks left before Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Washington. The United States needs to be clear about what it is prepared to offer to secure a strategic partnership with India, and be able to clearly determine what its red lines are. The coverage in the Indian press over reaction to special envoy Richard Holbrooke’s statements about India not being targeted by terrorist activity in Kabul—whether those remarks have been clarified or not—are being interpreted as a sign that the U.S. government is not on the same page when it comes to India policy. After conferring with President Obama, Singh will be meeting with his fellow BRIC members (and with the South Africans in the IBSA format as well)—and if the BRIC emerges with a common position on Iran that opposes Washington’s, then I believe the current drive for a new round of stringent sanctions will fail. The interagency process needs to guarantee that Singh gets a clear message—because when he leaves Washington, his next stop will be Brasilia.
Nikolas K. Gvosdev, a senior editor at The National Interest, is a professor of national-security studies at the U.S. Naval War College. The views expressed are entirely his own.
would like to cross post here the following article.As evident india is shifting its foreign policy again.With the cold shoulder given by obama administration to india over AFPAK and nuke deal issue and also ignoring it,india is shifting again towards Russia and iran.We may see India and china also hedging their relations in near future. USA want to see India as its ally like south Korea,Japan, Australia to take care of its interest in south Asia and IOR.But the thing is India is not interested in playing such a role.It want a role which is independent from US foreign policy which at many times is flawed.there is lot of divergence in Indo-US foreign policy then compared to convergence.So what India will look for is equal partnership based on convergence with various powers of the multi polar world rather than be a lapdog of USA bandwagon.USA is wrong in assuming that India will blindly follow USA's strategic interests by sacrificing its own.
There were talks of sanctioning Reliance petroleum by USA on the issue of doing business with iran.This is the second time in less than 2 weeks india has USA's policies wrt to iran.An indirect signal from indian govt.-----you ignore and oppose us will will do the same.A partnership is 2-way street.