India-Iran Relations


Senior Member
Jun 29, 2009
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The Hindu : News / National : Manmohan’s visit to Iran may be discussed

India and Iran will discuss the prospects of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visiting Tehran in February next during Iranian Foreign Minister Monouchehr Mottaki’s visit to India this month, diplomatic sources here say.

The last prime ministerial visit was made by Atal Bihari Vajpayee eight years ago.

Mr. Mottaki will arrive with a revised proposal for the Iran-India-Pakistan gas pipeline. He will also discuss greater cooperation in the strategic and economic spheres. With economists certain that the submarine pipeline is three times as expensive as the land route, Mr. Mottaki will address India’s concerns about the pipeline’s transit costs, assured supplies and security.

More importantly, he will put forward a revised Iranian proposal, framed after the two countries discussed the issue at a recent meeting in Shanghai attended by Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and an Iranian Vice-President.

Iran acknowledges the importance of the pipeline’s security in India’s calculation but feels the three countries should resolve all issues and come to an in-principle decision to evacuate gas eastwards towards India and Pakistan as early as possible, the sources say.

As India has completed the road from the Iranian border to Afghanistan’s ring road, the issue of capacity augmentation of Iran’s Chabar port and a rail connection from there to the Afghan border town of Zaranj will also be discussed. Political difficulties and differences between the two countries had delayed the port expansion project, which was initially allocated to the Essar Group.

In the absence of an alternate route through Pakistan, the port expansion and the laying of a rail link will drastically cut the time for goods shipment to the Central Asian countries and Afghanistan.

As in the case of the Chabar port expansion, the talks on other areas of economic cooperation are also making slow progress. These include a joint venture with the Hinduja Group for setting up a refinery, a steel factory in southern Iran and gas exploration by an Indian consortium in the South Pars field.

Besides exploring the prospects of the Chabar-Zaranj-Delaram route, both sides are expected to discuss another route from the same port through Kerman for faster transportation of goods to Russia and Europe.


Oct 8, 2009
Trade route to Afghanistan, terror in Pak to figure in India-Iran talks

When Iran and India sit across the table for a high-level series of talks next week, the common link of two troubled neighbours — Pakistan and Afghanistan — will dominate discussions. A new trade route to Afghanistan and the common threat of terror originating from Pakistan will come up for discussions when Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki comes for his two-day visit here starting Monday.

Mottaki, who will be the first senior leader to visit India since the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in July, will hold a series of discussions with his Indian counterparts on a variety of issues, including energy security, the proposed gas pipeline project as well as terror groups in Pakistan that are targeting both India and Iran.

India is keen to take forward discussions on the development of the Chabahar port in south Iran and an integrated railway line to Bam that would provide a direct trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia

With the Zaranj-Delaram road link in Afghanistan already completed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), India is keen that the rail link from the Iranian deep sea port of Chabahar to Bam gets completed at the earliest, connecting it to the main Garland highway in Afghanistan.

Sources said the rail link and port expansion project would also be discussed at a joint working group meeting between the countries that would be convened shortly. “We are keen to see it through so that it can be used for trade with Central Asia and Afghanistan,” they said.

The two sides will also discuss the proposed gas pipeline that would come through Pakistan. While India has expressed its keenness for the project, the proposed pipeline is not on the immediate horizon, given safety concerns and differences on pricing. However, the sources pointed out that both sides were working to sort out differences and were keen on the project.

Mottaki, who will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and will hold discussions with his Indian counterpart S M Krishna, is also expected to discuss the security situation in Pakistan that is affecting both the countries.


May 4, 2009
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India to engage witrh Iran

With Iran getting isolated by the western countries and China trying to increase it's influence it is very important that India steps up it's efforts to keep engaged with Iran.
For India it will be a very big diplomatic coup if we are able to resolve the nuclear and other issues that Iran has with the the Western countries. We need to bring Iran out of isolation and if we are able to do this we can offer an alternative route to NATO forces from the Karachi Port and overland route through Pakistan which is prone to attacks.

With the arrival of the Iranain Foreign Minister's arrival in Delhi for 2 days of discussions, this is a big step forward.

Delhi reaches out to lonely Tehran, may offer ISRO launch for satellite

New Delhi plans to woo Tehran with offers of greater intelligence sharing, revival of defence training and a possible launch of the latter’s satellite but will remain non-committal on the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.

India’s objective, drafted a month after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got a second term in July, is to engage more with Iran at a time when the West is treating it like a pariah over its nuclear programme.

“Increased isolation of Iran provides us with an opportunity... inviting the Iranian Foreign Minister to visit India at this juncture would be viewed as a big gesture by Iran,” an External Affairs Ministry official was quoted as saying during an inter-ministerial strategy meet.

A fresh invitation was sent following which Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is arriving on Monday for a two-day visit to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and meet counterpart S M Krishna

While discussing terrorism emanating out of Pakistan, India will suggest greater sharing of intelligence on the movement of Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives who, according to electronic intercepts, move to Tehran or Zahidan. Last November, India had passed on “useful” information to Tehran on terrorist movement.

The issue of Indian Muslim students going to Qom for religious studies will also be taken up with Mottaki as these students are being targeted by Pakistani operatives for recruitment as militants against India.

On the agenda will be a visit by the topmost official of the Research & Analysis Wing, India’s secret service, to Tehran that has been delayed because of the formation of a new government in India and revamp of the intelligence set-up in Iran.

Iran’s strategy on Afghanistan — that all foreign forces should leave it within a specified time frame — will also be taken up with the emphasis that Tehran should not just be bothered about consolidating the Afghan areas adjacent to it. The second concern on Afghanistan will be addressed by inviting an Iranian delegation from the Narcotics Control Board to cooperate on plugging the movement of narcotics to the two countries.

One “big gesture” by India at the talks will be an offer to launch Iran’s commercial satellite through an ISRO vehicle for which the technical details — sent by the Iranians in July — have been sent to Indian Space Research Organisation for “assessing the nature of the satellite”.

The Mesbah, designed to travel in low earth orbit to assist in data communication over three years, was first timed for a launch by a Russian Cosmos-3 satellite-carrier but that did not happen. Last week, satellite maker Carlo Gavazzi Space Company of Italy refuted Iran’s claim that it would be launching the satellite after March 2011.


The southern Man
Senior Member
Jul 15, 2009
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India proposes to invest $6.5 billion in Iran gas fields

India on Monday proposed to invest $6.5 billion to develop gas fields in Iran and sought more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from that country.

At the same time, India asked Iran to honour the 2005 LNG import deal and ensure secured supplies of gas through the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline.

In the first high-level contact in two years, India told the visiting Iranian Deputy Oil Minister and National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) Managing Director, Seifollah Jashnsaz, that it was keen to buy 5 million tonnes of LNG a year besides the ones signed in 2005, sources said.

India also asked Iran to give the ONGC Videsh-led group rights to develop the gas field it discovered in the offshore Farsi block. It sought 20-25 per cent stake for the overseas investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) in the Phase-12 of the gigantic South Pars gas field in the Gulf.

Sources said Jashnsaz was told to honour the 2005 LNG agreement which NIOC had previously blocked, saying the gas price in the signed deal was too low.

On the $7.4 billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, India said it was willing to be part of the project provided Iran guarantees safety of the pipeline in Pakistan.

India said it would take delivery of the gas on the Pakistan-India border rather than the proposed sale point at the Iran-Pakistan border, sources said, adding this way Iran would be responsible for passage of gas in Pakistan and will have to bear losses if the pipeline is disrupted.
The Hindu : News / National : India proposes to invest $6.5 billion in Iran gas fields


Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan

Nov 21, 2009
The elephant in India and Iran's room
By Sudha Ramachandran

BANGALORE - Although India and Iran have met with some success in stemming the downward slide in their relations, their cooperation in the all-important energy sector seems to be stuck in a rut. And there is little to indicate that a breakthrough will be possible in the near future.

Negotiations between the two countries during the recent visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to New Delhi saw them make "good progress" on the issue of a transit route for Indian goods via Iran and Afghanistan to Central Asia and beyond. The two also "exchanged useful notes on the shared problem of terrorism emanating from the Pakistan-Afghanistan belt", an official in India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

However, apprehension over drawing American ire continues to

stand in the way of India engaging with the Iranians in some areas.

An area of cooperation with India that the Iranians are keenly interested in is space technology. They wrote to India some months ago asking it to launch a satellite. But so far, India has ignored the request.

"We don't plan to give them a response," the BBC quoted top Indian officials as saying.

Iran launched a domestically made satellite for the first time early this year. Since the long-range ballistic technology it used to hurl a satellite into space can be used to launch nuclear warheads as well, the launch triggered a barrage of criticism from the West, although Tehran insisted that the technology was for peaceful uses only.

India has launched satellites for several countries, including Israel. The launch of Israel's satellite from the Sriharikota space station in southern India was hailed in the Israeli media as a boost to Israel's intelligence gathering capability with regard to Iran.

But India is not keen to launch a satellite for the Iranians.

"India does not want to get entangled in Iran's problems over its nuclear and missile programs; hence its reluctance to launch satellites that could assist its missile capability," the MEA official explained.

It does not want to anger the Americans.

India's relations with Iran have been warm since the mid-1990s. The relationship blossomed in Afghanistan. Concern over the Taliban and the rising influence of Pakistan in Afghanistan brought the two together. India, Iran and Russia provided support to the Northern Alliance.

In the years since, oil and gas have energized the India-Iran relationship. Given Iran's possession of the world's second largest natural gas reserves and its third-largest oil reserves and India's growing energy requirements to fuel its expanding economy, Delhi and Tehran drew close to each other.

In 2005, the two signed an agreement under which Iran would supply India with 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per annum over 25 years beginning in 2009. Iran, Pakistan and India began exploring the possibility of cooperation over the construction of a pipeline (Iran-Pakistan-India - IPI) that would carry gas from Iran's South Pars gas fields through Pakistan to India. Iran also invited India to get involved in oil exploration.

In 2003, India invited Iran's president to be the chief guest of its Republic Day celebrations, signaling the importance Delhi accorded Iran.

But the relationship hit choppy waters in 2005-06, when India voted twice against Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). With its ties with the US expanding rapidly and the possibility of a nuclear deal that would allow it to engage in nuclear trade on the horizon, India succumbed to US pressure and lined up behind it against Iran.

The IAEA vote impacted on India-Iran relations immediately. Iran canceled the agreement to supply India with LNG and then called for renegotiation of the deal. It has been demanding a higher price for the LNG since.

With the US opposed to the IPI pipeline, India began dragging its feet on the project. While Iran and Pakistan signed an agreement on the pipeline, India stayed away.

Over the past year, several high level meetings have taken place to end the deadlock over the LNG deal and to get Indian on board the pipeline project. This was attempted during Mottaki's visit as well but with little luck.

The Iranian foreign minister told India that the door was still open for India to get on board the pipeline project. India's Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna said that India remained interested in the project but pointed to its continuing concerns over the pricing of gas, its delivery point and the safety of the pipeline.

Indian officials draw attention to Iran's frequent upward revision of the price of gas it will deliver through the pipeline. The price Iran is demanding at present is over double that which it proposed initially, making it the most expensive gas in the country. Another issue of concern is the security situation in Pakistan that will have implications for the pipeline's safety. The pipeline will run through Pakistan's insurgency-wracked Baluchistan province and Sind before entering India.

Although India has not categorically ruled out joining the pipeline project, the prospects of it doing so are dimming by the day given the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan. It seems to be using the bait of its participation in the pipeline project to push the Iranians to honor their commitment to supply LNG under the 2005 agreement. The pipeline project's economic viability depends on India joining the project. Iran and Pakistan have indicated in the past that they are considering inviting China to join the project.

While no progress was achieved in breaking the stalemate over the LNG deal and the pipeline project during Mottaki's visit, discussions on the transit route appear to have moved satisfactorily. The two sides discussed the prospects of an India-Iran-Afghanistan trilateral dialogue on a trade and transport corridor that will run from the Iranian port city of Chabahar through Afghanistan to the Central Asian Republics.

While this has been a topic of discussion for several years now, the plan has moved closer to fruition over the past year with India completing the construction of a crucial link in this route - the 218-kilometer Zaranj-Delaram highway in Afghanistan. Zaranj is located on Afghanistan's border while Delaram is one of the towns that are linked by the Garland Highway. Once goods reach the Iranian-Afghan border they can be transported through the Zaranj-Delaram highway on to the Garland Highway to any part of Afghanistan and thereon to the Central Asian Republics.

India is in talks with Iran on the construction of a 708km rail link from Chabahar to Fahraj.

With Pakistan denying India overland access to Afghanistan, India is hoping to use Chabahar port to send goods via land to Afghanistan and Central Asia. India, Iran and Russia have been working on a north-south corridor too that will allow them to send cargo via Chabahar.

The positions of India and Iran on Afghanistan share several similarities. Both are opposed to the Taliban and Pakistan's role in supporting it. Both believe that there is no "good Taliban" and are opposed to attempts to reach out to "moderate Taliban". This shared perception has prompted some in India to call on Delhi and Tehran to co-ordinate efforts towards shaping a joint strategy to Afghanistan.

But there is an important difference in their positions on Afghanistan that stands in the way of their playing a more overt and united role and that is their perception of the US role in Afghanistan. Iran is wary of American troop presence in Afghanistan. India is worried that the Americans will leave Afghanistan. It is opposed to the US exiting Afghanistan at least for now.

Indian officials blame Iran for the current trouble in energy cooperation with Iran. They point to Iran's refusal to respect signed agreements and its frequent demand to renegotiate terms. This they say is standing in the way of the implementation of agreements. They compare this to the smooth implementation of oil deals with Oman or Sudan.

But this alone does not explain the below-potential co-operation between India and Iran. It is US pressure on India, their newfound closeness and India's reluctance to annoy the Americans that is to blame for the stalemate in energy cooperation. If the US has not put pressure on India regarding the trans Iran-Afghanistan trade corridor, it is because it needs all the help it can get to tackle the crisis in Afghanistan.

Indian officials will not admit it, but when Mottaki was in Delhi negotiating with them, the US was the elephant in the room that stood in the way of his visit being more fruitful.

Sudha Ramachandran is an independent journalist/researcher based in Bangalore.

(Copyright 2009 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)


Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
a little old.

‘Iran hopes President Obama can deliver on his promises’

Siddharth Varadarajan, November 16, 2009

MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI: `We believe that with the continuation of the diplomacy going on now, it is possible to reach an agreement and compromise.' Photo: V.V. Krishnan

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu during a two-day visit to Delhi, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki talks about the latest western proposal on the nuclear issue, the reasons behind the recent disclosure of a new enrichment facility at Fardoo and the current state of Indo-Iranian relations.


Iran has yet to respond to the proposal of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (the P5+1) for fuelling the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). The proposal, which involves Iran shipping out some of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) in return for 20 per cent enriched uranium, seems good for both sides. It shows the P5+1 is dropping its insistence on Iran suspending all enrichment, and also allows Tehran to build confidence with the U.S. and its allies. What will Iran’s stand be?

In order to provide fuel for the TRR, there are three options in front of us. The first is producing the fuel ourselves, i.e. enriching LEU up to 20 per cent; second, purchasing the fuel from other countries as in the past; or third, considering the proposal which has been made by the other side. And we have taken this proposal into consideration and provided an initial response - that we are ready to discuss that option. We have some technical and economical observations here but in principle, this option could be taken into consideration and put on the agenda. We believe that with the continuation of the diplomacy going on now, it is possible to reach an agreement and compromise. Complementary suggestions and proposals are being sent and received by both sides, and by [International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammed] ElBaradei.

One of the proposals is to involve Turkey as a staging post for the swap, or for Iran to buy half its requirement for the TRR and export only half of its own LEU. Are these some of the ideas being actively considered by your government?

One part of the discussion is the exchange of Iran’s 3.5 per cent LEU with 20 per cent enriched uranium of the other side. There’s some talk regarding the exchange of these two fuels inside Iran. With a positive view regarding the essence and nature of the proposal, we are reviewing the possibility of exchanging this fuel inside Iran. We have studied this proposal in order to open a new door for the other side. And the truth of the matter is their interaction could somehow build confidence among the Iranians.

When you say “exchange inside Iran”, are you saying the 20 per cent enriched fuel for the TRR must come first?

Well, if there is going to be any exchange of fuel inside Iran, this must mean one side of the fuel exists in Iran and the other side should come, the 20 per cent.

Is it that Iran doesn’t trust some of the countries involved? Are you afraid, for example, that the French may cheat you?

That is not what we are saying. We need fuel for the TRR. May be in exchange for one portion of this fuel, we hand over some of our fuel. Therefore, it is quite natural to see this happen inside Iran.

From what I gather, you are looking to modify the basic P5+1 proposal but U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said this is a ‘take it or leave it’ offer.

In diplomacy, we do not have zero or hundred. Therefore, flexibility is considered the essence of diplomacy. I believe this, and I guess the American side will understand this point as well…. Earlier, when they wanted to talk to us, they put some preconditions [like suspension of enrichment].But today they are talking and participating in talks without any preconditions.

The IAEA has now visited the proposed nuclear facility you recently declared at Fardoo near Qom. What is the purpose of the facility and why did Iran inform the agency about it only recently?

The reason for nuclear activity in Iran is producing fuel for generating power. The Fardoo facility is a site designed to take into account the use of new and updated centrifuges and the [need for] security. According to the laws we have ratified in Iran, we had to inform the IAEA only18 months before injecting fuel into the centrifuges. But we have done so before that time.

The U.S. claims Iran told the IAEA about Fardoo because it realised the CIA knew about the site and was likely to go public. Is this true?

Whenever they have any information, they highlight it ten times more for the benefit of the world’s public. So how come the CIA was so humble that it did not announce this site to the public! No matter when we announced it, they were going to say something else.

Do you feel President Obama is sincere when he says he wants to build new relations with Iran? Do you feel he represents a change from George W. Bush?

We consider the new administration different from the earlier one, which was a total warmonger administration that sullied the reputation of the U.S. The failure of the Bush policies has been confirmed by the American people, who showed this with their votes in the presidential election. Today, everyone around the world knows Obama is a chance for the U.S. And the experts there should not allow this opportunity to lead to failure. We want to believe what President Obama is saying. We hope he can operationalise what he says. To the extent to which President Obama is serious in his approach, Iran is ready to help.

There is a feeling in the aftermath of your recent presidential election that divisions within the Iranian establishment might make it hard for Tehran to take advantage of the opportunities for dialogue presented by Mr. Obama and the latest P5+1 proposal.

The incidents after the elections ended a long time ago. It was a miscalculation by those who lost. I think the presidential election strengthened the capability of Iran. It was unique in our history that the difference between the president and his nearest rival was 11 million votes. Therefore, the decision-makers of the Islamic Republic of Iran are moving forward with more energy and power. We have received the messages of President Obama and are studying those messages. When we assess that the administration’s actions and deeds go along with one another, certainly they are going to have our help.

Indian officials say they are keen to expand relations with Iran. What are the specific areas of cooperation you discussed with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna?

In my meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr. Krishna, we reviewed all dimensions of our relations. I agree they are interested and keen on developing and enhancing relations with Iran. We found our Indian friends serious and believe a new chapter has been opened for cooperation.

But the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline remains dead?

We voiced our full readiness that after finalisation of the issue by the Indian side we can add India to the project. Both the EAM and PM reiterated and raised this issue.

Among well-wishers of Iran in India, there is concern about the recent secret trial of the Iranian scholar, Kian Tajbakhsh, for his alleged involvement in the post-election protests. Now he has been sentenced to 12-15 years. We hope his case can be reviewed because he is a scholar and not someone involved in subversion.

All judicial verdicts can be reviewed and the opportunity of appeal is there for him. I am not aware of the details of his case. But our great effort is to see that those entering court can use all their rights, including appeal or using the capacity and potentiality of pardon.

If diplomacy continues, it is possible to reach an agreement on the U.S.-led proposal for the exchange of nuclear fuel, says Iran’s Foreign Minister.

The Hindu : Columns / Siddharth Varadarajan : ‘Iran hopes President Obama can deliver on his promises’


Regular Member
Aug 12, 2009
India-Iran rapport – a game changer.

In cosmos of oil and gas hunters there is a saying now a days ie its not easy to be blessed, if blessed then you have to pipeined it – India neither is blessed nor finding it easy to pipeined it. An Iran-India partnership in coming decades can spell both blessings and pipelines for both the nations.

In march 2006 at the peak of Indo-Unkil civil nuke deal and at the time when pres Bush was on a South Asian tour, Indian and Iranian navies where at the sea on a joint naval exercise – the massage was direct, no nuke deal at the cost of Iran. From the time of Iranian support to Pakistanis in ’71 and backing its Kashmir claim, Iran have come a long way after ’79. Now not only its has recognised Kashmir as an integrated part on India but also, going by the western strategic journals, India and Iran have signed an accord to provide India with its bases in case of an confrontation with Pakistan – in recent Pranab Mukherhe’s visit.

In 2005 India voted against Iran in IAEA but made in clear that it will oppose any effort by America to refer Iran in United Nation Security Council. In 2006 it swopped its vote with waiver from Iran-Libya saction act which prevents nations from investing more than 25 million dollars in Iran. This can be augured by plethora of Indian investment in Iranian energy sector, as no internation financing institute is willing to put money there.

In 2003, India and Iran agreed for more close defence cooperartions and established a joint working group for this – till date its had met five times to discuss all issues including cooperation in Afgahnistan. Iran also wants to be a part of Indo-Russia defence initiatives but leaving Indian training to there engineers for Russian off the shelf products and some telecommunication and electronic projects, Iran have not been received well by both India and Russia, thanks to there current rabble rousing leaders. But apart from militarily support India is also providing a massive infrastructure in IT networking and railline setups, food processing, and pharmaceutical.

For Iran a close relation with India is very desirable as compare to China or Russia. Tho Russia remains its most vocal patronage but unlike India it doesn’t have an equating relation with middle east (sunni dominated nation) and more importantly Israel. An strong Indo-Israel relation with a warm Indo-Iran ties can help both the nations with tier II diplomacy. Recently Israeli intelligence chief visited both India and Russia, assuring that no militarily plans are onboard on Iran – a fact that has been affirmed by Russian president himself in a BBC interview. Vital Indian thrifty assets in Iran, serving Asian energy thirstiness, can make Iran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons and in return making sure that India and other vested nations stands firm inbetween any American military misadventure. American will also be at ease with Indian assets in Iran than Chinese, if this can allay Iranian rattling.

Iranian oil which makes more than 8% of Indian imports can be increased only if Iran improves its exploration techs and have more refineries; a plan which have hit roadblocks by various American sanction. India is willing to overcome this beleaguering as OVL is going to invest in Iranian oil fields, moreover Essar India plans to build a 300,000 bpd refinery in Bandar Abbas worth10 billion $. Along with oil, Iran also holds an 970 trillion cubic feet of confirmed gas reserve. But this gas cant be transported easily by shipments as Iran doesn’t have technology to convert natural gas into liquefying gas, as this technic uses lot of American patented components. All of liquefying stations around the world are either constructed by Americans or there licenced firms. But India some how have managed to over come this hurdle, as GAIL is helping to construct LNG plant in Bandar Abbas, with the consultations of Engineers India LTD. Adding to that ONGC and Hinduja Group are considering a separate contracts to supply 5 mta of LNG to India.

Natural gas, liquefied on massive Iranian stations can be offloaded at Indian planned regasification stations at Kochi, Mundra, Ennore and Pipavav . Furthermore, just few days ago (6 Jan), Iran and Turkmenistan went into an agreement to set up a gas pipeline to connect Iran with Central Asia. India hereby can buy stacks in Caucasus fields and than swap it with Iranian agencies. The pipeline better know as Turkman-Iran line connects Bander Abbas to central asia, p'line running through Kerman, Esfahan, Neka and then into Turkmenistan – a project backed by Russia and ofcourse to american envy. This project seriously halts American Nabucco ambitions. Georgian war was just one of Russian-American tussle to get or deny that window of transition inbetween Russia and Iran.

India and Iran had also initiated a ‘North-South transport corridor’ with Russia and Turkmenistan to establish a multimodal transport link connecting Mumbai with St. Petersburg. This route connects India goods from Chabbar port to bander Anzali and Amirabad to Caspian sea ports of Russia. From where whole of central Asia can be linked, an route just more that 7000km as compared to 18000km from Mediterranean. Recently some 2000 cargo containers where sent to Afghanistan through Iran, a route worth 10 billion dollars – Iran responded with duty free docking of Afghan goods for Indian market.

India must follow its supreme national interest of securing its energy supplies and engaging Iran for a stronger relation in middle east and central asia. Whether its Russian backed Iran-Pureland-India p’line or its American backed TAPI, India must take both of them with importunity. TAPI which is funded by ADB, have American backing to secure Afghanistan its urgently needed revenue and to challenge Russian hegemony in gas sector. More over this p’line runs through some of very dangerous places both in Afghanistan and pureland, will give India a perfect guise to put its troops in Afghanistan for the sake of security. Pureland on the other hand gets the assurance of American cooperation for the immediate future.

IPI backed by Russian, gives them not only contractual but investing opportunities, runing through relatively safer area. Pakistan now refusing to guarantee IPI security, only shows its reservations for being a part of this project. No matter how much liaison purelanders shows, the fact is that it cant be allowed to go against there masters. Without Indian participation, any bilateral transition between Iran and Pureland are very bleak. Pureland may blackmail India to go alone but fact of the matter is that even after five yrs there is not even a substructure for the pipeline, they could have initiated with basic substations but alas jugheads cant fool the world. India must commit to both the projects but before going on with IPI, it must also make sure that revenue from this project must go to the regional governments of both Balochistan and Sindh, by making them a party in it; denying there army of misusing this money. Be it American or Russian designs, in both cases its advantage India

By having assets in Iran and becoming a major processor of its oil and gas, India can be more than just a consumer. Further deals with Asean nations and Japan can establish India as an important player in Asia and provides economical benefits for both India and Iran. Even in middle east a stronger Indian-Iranian relation will make other nations in the region to call for even more warmer ties with India. India must move swiftly before China beats India in this Great Game.

Jai Hind
Jai shri Ram


NRI in Europe
Senior Member
Aug 10, 2009
Country flag
many thanks are due to Iran for helping india to look good in comparison-----

on a more serious note , iran should link with india to get things done internationally , given india's good rapport in the usa and euro union.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Snubbed S M Krishna drops Iran visit

NEW DELHI: India's attempts to step up engagement with Iran on crucial regional issues, including Afghanistan, appear to have suffered a setback, with foreign minister S M Krishna calling off his visit to Tehran at the last moment amid signs of indifference on the part of the hosts.

Krishna decided not to go after the Iranians abruptly changed dates twice. It is not known if the visit will take place in the near future.

Sources revealed that Krishna reacted to Iran's wriggling out of the dates it had intimated to India for the second time by saying prior commitments prevented him from making the visit.

India refrained from taking issue with Iran, but sources said that Tehran's fickleness over the dates could result from a possible reluctance on Iran's part after India took a stand favouring International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolutions against it for pressing ahead with its nuclear programme.

Manmohan's Iran visit also on hold

External affairs minister S M Krishna, an official revealed, had last month agreed to visit Tehran after receiving an invitation from his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki. In the invitation, Mottaki said he wanted Krishna to take part in Navroze celebrations. March 28 and 29 were the dates communicated for the visit.

Tehran later asked that the dates be changed to March 30 and 31. Krishna accepted and agreed to travel on the revised dates suggested by Tehran, only to find the Iranians seeking to change the dates for again, this time to March 27 and 28.

This time the foreign ministry conveyed Krishna's inability to make it on the new dates. Sources said that by the time this second change was communicated to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) by the Iranian embassy in Delhi, Krishna's visit to Singapore had already been announced. Iranian embassy officials told the MEA that they wanted the dates changed again because of Navroze celebrations on March 27 and 28.

But many are inclined to view Tehran's change of dates against the background of strained ties resulting from India's votes in favour the IAEA's censure of Iran for its nuclear programme. When India again voted in favour of the IAEA resolution last year, Mottaki had made his displeasure known to Krishna.

PM Manmohan Singh's visit to Tehran has also not materialised, even though the two sides have had it on the agenda for more than a year. India has been hoping to forge a strong alliance with Iran over the Taliban issue, as Tehran has maintained it does not believe there is any "good" Taliban, and that Taliban groups should not be allowed any role in the Kabul government in the event of a reconciliation.

However, the one important difference between the positions of the two countries is that, unlike India, Iran wants NATO troops to withdraw immediately from Afghanistan.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
The Pioneer Edit Desk

A gap New Delhi and Tehran need to address

The cancellation of Foreign Minister SM Krishna’s visit to Iran after Tehran changed dates twice and made its reluctance to play host obvious indicates an emerging challenge for Indian diplomacy. In a sense, the Iranian Government acted in bad faith. It initiated the process of the visit by inviting Mr Krishna for Navroz — traditionally marking New Year in that country — and then altered the dates. When the new dates were accepted, Tehran changed them again and this time it was inconvenient for New Delhi to play along, given Mr Krishna’s prior commitments. The Foreign Minister’s visit was supposed to be a precursor to a prime ministerial trip to Iran. Obviously, the entire time-table will now have to be revisited. Iran is making it clear that it is not going to forgive India easily for voting against it at the International Atomic Energy Agency and seeking sanctions and action against the regime in Tehran for its clandestine nuclear weapons programme. Iran has consistently violated its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its pursuit of the Bomb is worrying for not just Israel and the United States but also deeply disquieting in terms of India’s own security. A Shia nuclear-weapons state will be seen as a grave provocation by Sunni Governments in West Asia. There will be pressure, particularly on Saudi Arabia, to take counteractive measures. The secret — or perhaps non-so-secret — protocol between the Saudis and the Pakistanis whereby Riyadh funded and supported Islamabad’s development of a nuclear arsenal that would then provide umbrella cover to the paramount Arab kingdom could then become explicit. A larger arms race in the Muslim world would result and Pakistani’s diplomatic space as well as ability to leverage its nuclear infrastructure — aimed primarily at India — would increase. As such, particularly at a time when it was negotiating a civilian nuclear deal with the United States and the international community, and needed to provide evidence of its being a responsible stakeholder in the nuclear enterprise, India could just not have ignored Iran’s transgressions, much less approbated them.

This background is important and suggests a contradiction that will always remain. Nevertheless, India and Iran have a compelling medium-term congruence of interests in Afghanistan. In case American troops withdraw or scale back their presence in Kabul, in case the Taliban — or least a faction of the Taliban beholden to the Generals in Rawalpindi and deriving ideological sustenance from a particularly extreme version of Sunni Islam — takes change, both India and Iran are going to see a critical worsening of their security environments. They will have to work together, as they did in the 1990s and in the period leading up to 9/11, to build proxies and create capacities for alternative players in the Afghan polity. Unfortunately, Tehran’s blind antagonism to Washington, DC, a result of the limited, provincial world-view of its current President, is preventing it from taking a clear-eyed view of the Afghan situation. It wants Western forces to quit at once, not realising this is probably going to happen anyway in 2011 and that it will inevitably create a power vacuum in Kabul. In these circumstances, India and Iran need to discuss Afghanistan as well as perhaps the scenario in Pakistani Balochistan. However, this conversation cannot even begin if Iran decides to be bull-headed and seeks not tactical alliance with India but strategic subservience from it.
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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Inside the U.N.'s Iran sanctions debate

Posted By Colum Lynch Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 7:45 PM Share
The United States' confidential U.N. sanctions text calls for a comprehensive arms embargo on Iran, allows foreign states to seize Iranian ships suspected of carrying materials linked to its nuclear program, and curtails Tehran's ability to raise new investment in the country's energy sector, according to U.N.-based diplomats.

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined the U.S. proposal today in a meeting at the U.S. mission with the U.N.'s big powers -- China, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany. The United States hopes to adopt a sanctions resolution before the end of April, but some council officials said it was more likely it would pass in June.

The text under negotiation has been written by the United States, with input from Washington's European partners. It has been crafted to target senior officers in Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and a network of Iranian companies and financial institutions it controls. The U.S. believes these entities have been used to underwrite Tehran's military proxies throughout the Middle East and fund Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear enrichment programs.

China objected strenuously to the U.S. proposal for sanctions on energy investments during a big-power meeting last week in New York on the text, and insisted that Beijing would not accept any provisions that challenged its commercial interests in Iran, according to council diplomats. But Beijing has finally begun to engage in direct negotiations, offering some suggestions during the past 24 hours on how the U.S. should modify its text.

The negotiations continued as Iran announced that it had made a critical breakthrough in its efforts to produce a self-sufficient nuclear fuel program. The country's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said that Iran had enriched uranium to 20 percent purity, well above the previous 3.5 percent level achieved by Iran's nuclear scientists. Iran requires uranium enriched to that level to fuel its medical research reactors. The purity of Iran's enriched uranium is still well below the 90 percent level required to produce a nuclear bomb, but it moves it far closer to being able to produce a nuclear weapon.

The developments follow a high-level meeting in Washington Monday between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao. After the meeting, U.S. officials said that Obama received a commitment from Hu to continue negotiations on a new sanctions resolution. But the Chinese have yet to agree to endorse any specific measures against Tehran.

Today's meeting at the U.S. mission to the United Nations represents the first time the six powers -- known as the P-5+1 -- have begun substantive negotiations on the U.S. text. During a three-hour meeting at the British mission last week, China, Russia, and others simply restated their positions on U.N. sanctions. Beijing and Moscow both say they remain committed to resolving the nuclear dispute with Iran through negotiations. They both have pressed Iran to accept an offer to swap its enriched uranium for nuclear fuel from Russia or France for use in a medical research reactor.

But Russia's U.N. ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin voiced frustration. "I don't think any of us wants to impose sanctions; what we want is to have a diplomatic solution," Churkin said. But "if Iran wants to negotiate it should start negotiating."

Security Council diplomats say that the passage of the last Iran sanctions resolution, 1803, took more than six weeks of intense bargaining in New York to conclude, and that was after their capitals had already agreed to the general parameters to the talks. They believe the current negotiations may take even longer, given that the key powers are essentially starting from scratch. The timing has also been complicated by the presence of Lebanon in the Security Council presidency next month. Lebanon's cabinet includes a key bloc from the Shiite movement Hezbollah, which receives financial and military backing from Iran.

Here's a link to the key nuclear negotiators in New York. The U.S. proposal targets four key sectors of the Iranian economy.

ARMS: The U.N. Security Council has previously imposed a partial arms embargo on Iran that is crafted to prevent Iran from trading in ballistic missile or nuclear technology, and which bans the exports of most weapons. The United States and its European partners want to close the gap with a total ban on imports and exports. But Russia, which supplies Iran with military materials, objects to the comprehensive arms embargo. Moscow and Beijing have insisted that any new sanctions should narrowly target Iran's capacity to developed ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons.

ENERGY: The U.S. wants to bar new foreign investment in the Iranian energy sector, according to diplomats familiar with the U.S. plan. But it would not bar the export or import of oil and other petroleum-based products. China's U.N. ambassador Li Baodong objected to the provision last week during a closed-door meeting of the key U.N. powers negotiating U.N. sanctions. Russia supports China. "If we speak about energy sanctions, I'll give you my opinion. I think that we are unlikely to achieve a consolidated position in the world community on this issue," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a recent interview with ABC television, according to Reuters.

SHIPPING: The U.S. text would permit the seizure of Iranian vessels on the high seas suspected of ferrying cargo linked to Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear program. It would also seek to make it harder for Iran to by insurance on Iranian vessels. The Obama administration sees last year's resolution on North Korea as a model for tightening sanctions on banned Iranian trade. In June, the Security Council voted to authorize states for the first time to board North Korean vessels at sea if they were suspected of carrying banned cargo. The resolution has led to increased seizure of North Korean vessels. But the Chinese have argued that North Korea, a declared nuclear power, deserves a tougher approach than Iran, whose nuclear ambitions remain ambiguous and unproven. The United States and its European allies have countered that sanctions are supposed to be preventive instead of punitive, and that it makes sense to do whatever it can to dissuade Tehran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

FINANCIAL: Rice will be looking to sanction Iran's central bank and press for additional targeted travel and financial restrictions against officials and businesses linked to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including a group of companies recently sanctioned by the Treasury Department. A natural target is Revolutionary Guard General Rostam Qasemi. who is also the commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, the engineering arm that Treasury says helps the Guards generate income and fund their operations. A previous sanctions resolution simply encouraged states to "exercise vigilance" to ensure that their financial dealing with Iranian banks, including Bank Melli and Bank Saderat, did not result in funds being diverted to banned military programs. The United States wants to strengthen those measures. Both Russia and China have argued that it would be improper to sanction Revolutionary Guard activities that are unrelated to Iran's banned nuclear and missile activities.


Regular Member
Mar 6, 2010
With US trying to sideline India in Afganistan, it is important for India to prepare for post-US Afganistan. The govt should try to activate the old India-Iran-Russia alliance to combat the Taliban that may likely come back to power. The only thing the govt should do is to balance the relationship and make sure the Isrealis don't feel sidelined.


Nov 16, 2009
Country flag
IAEA vote: Krishna to clarify Indian stand to Iran

On Board Special Aircraft: India will use External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's visit to Iran this week to "further clarify" its position on the vote against Tehran at the summit of the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA.

The visit "will give me an opportunity under the G-15 meetings to have bilateral talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister and further clarify whatever we have said," Krishna told reporters on his way back from his two-day visit to Kazakhstan.

He was asked about the Indian vote against Iran. India had last year backed an international resolution against Iran over its nuclear programme while making it clear that it was opposed to "a renewed punitive approach or sanctions" against that country. It had favoured dialogue to resolve the issue.

Asked whether India's relations with Iran had been affected by the vote, the Minister said, "...Naturaly Iran was not pleased with our vote. But we have explained our position and I hope that Iran would be able to understand and appreciate our position".

The minister said that the relationship between the two countries has been very smooth despite the vote issue. "But that was done under broad policy parameters which we had drawn for ourselves and we have explained our goal to Iran because it is a friendly power," he said.

"In the relationship between two countries, there could be times when on one issue there could be certain divergence of views.... That should not halt the overall relationship of friendship between our two countries," Krishna said.

"We respect Iran's eagerness to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes just like we did when we started it," he said.

Asked about the status of the Iran-India gas pipeline, Krishna said, "That certainly will be one of the aspects of my discussions with Iran.

"We have always been supportive of the gas pipeline involving India, Pakistan and Iran and that is part of the energy security that we are looking forward to... and we hope that we are able to clinch the issue".

But, the only two things which are delaying the negotiations "are the cost, the price and the security," he said, adding unless these issues are effectively resolved, no progress would be possible. "I hope there is going to be an earnestness from both sides to complete the negotiations".

The External Affairs Minister will leave for Iran on May 15 on a bilateral visit and attend the G-15 meeting on May 17-18.



Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009

Cool G-15 heads take the heat​

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

TEHRAN - Cavalcades for eight presidents and more than a dozen foreign ministers may raise tensions among Tehran's drivers, yet their presence in the city for a Group of 15 summit throws cold water on the West's sizzling criticism of Iran.

The summit is both politically and globally timely as the United States and its Western allies do their best to isolate Iran at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in New York (May 3-28). They are counting on serious divisions within the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) as a prelude to applying more pressure at the meeting of the ''Iran Six'' nations next month over the nuclear standoff with Tehran, with a view to applying more sanctions on the country over its nuclear-enrichment program.

That India, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia and Nigeria will be represented at the highest level at the May 15-17 conference will likely boost Iran's bargaining position at the ongoing discussions in New York, where the NAM, led by Egypt, has already focused the spotlight on Israel's nuclear program. The Tehran meeting also provides a chance to gather momentum against a Western "sanctions strategy" that discourages foreign direct investment (FDI) in Iran, in light of initiatives aimed at bolstering "south-south" direct investment.

"This summit focuses on improving south-south cooperation, addressing global inequities and assessing the impact of global economic recovery on developing nations," says a professor of political science at Tehran University.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's attendance may mean that Iran and Brazil are "getting closer on the nuclear fuel deal", according to the professor. Both countries have been talking about the possibility of Brazil assisting with the a Tehran nuclear reactor that provides radioisotopes for hundreds of Iranian hospitals.

Aside from the nuclear issue, the measure of a successful summit for Iran would be the extent to which it culminates in greater capital inflows from other G-15 countries, such as India, Brazil, Venezuela and Malaysia, many of whom act as both recipients as well as sources of FDI.

Iran's foreign economic policy under President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has already brought tangible dividends in terms of greater investment by G-15 countries. Investments by Indian companies OVL, Oil India and IOC in the development of the Farsi oil and gas blocks as well as the South Pars Gas field in Iran are cases in point.

Tata Steel has invested in steel plants, while Indian public-sector companies like Rites and Ircon helped develop the Chahbahar container terminal project in southwest Iran. Among other countries, Venezuela has also invested some $760 million in Iran's South Part oil fields and $700 million in a joint petrochemical project in Assaluyeh.

Still, despite tangible evidence of progress in Iran's "south-south" cooperation, Tehran's overall trade with partners in the G-15 bloc stands at about 6% of its global trade, with India its biggest trading partner. Last year, Iran's imports from the G-15 comprised about 11% of the nation's total imports. Tehran's relations with the governments of the G-15 nations vary, in light of its relatively small trade with Algeria, Jamaica, Nigeria and Senegal, compared with growing ties to Brazil, Malaysia and a few others.

The trans-regional G-15 [1] plays a pivotal role in offsetting Western cultural and economic hegemony and in many ways ensures the viability of non-aligned countries in the post-Cold War era - much like the smaller D-8 group. Five members of the largely Islamic D-8 (Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, Malaysia and Nigeria) are also in the G-15.

Having held the G-15 presidency since 2006, Iran passes on the mantle to Sri Lanka this week. This may present a unique opportunity for Sri Lanka, whose "globalized" economy depends heavily on exports to countries such as the US and the United Kingdom, to bolster its position through the expansion of south-south trade and investment.

Since 2008, the global financial crisis has led to drops in Sri Lanka's exports and inflows of remittances, FDI and foreign aid. The nation's export earnings declined 15% in 2009 compared with the previous year, while remittances were down 6%, according to a recent G-15 working paper. One of Sri Lanka's economic steps, fitting nicely with its G-15 agenda, has been its engagement in swap arrangements (rupees for other currencies) with friendly central banks; these and Sri Lanka's large expatriate labor force will benefit from its G-15 role, should this translate in greater economic ties with other member nations, including Iran.

The Tehran summit is likely to repeat previous calls for restructuring of international financial institutions and a more equitable representation of developing countries in those institutions.

Furthermore, in line with the G-15's initial agenda to serve as a "dialogue partner" with the Group of 20 nations, the Tehran summit is also likely to address the issue of food security and, perhaps, mobilize billions of dollars for a food bank to assist developing countries. Improving water resources has also been a priority and there is talk of a "water fund".

In discussing the G-15 summit, Tehran dailies are abuzz about addressing egregious inequities in world trade and the importance of easier access of the global market to the goods and services of the developing world.

The developed world may not necessarily like the message from the Tehran summit, yet for the majority of the world's population inhabiting the developing world bemoaning the Western world's domination of airwaves, news of this summit is music to their ears.

1. The Group of 15 was established at the ninth Non-Aligned Movement summit meeting in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in September 1989. It was set up to foster cooperation and provide input for other international groups, such as the World Trade Organization and the Group of Eight rich industrialized nations. It is composed of countries from North America, South America, Africa and Asia with a common goal of enhanced growth and prosperity. The G-15 focuses on cooperation among developing countries in the areas of investment, trade and technology. The membership of the G-15 has expanded to 18 countries, but the name has remained unchanged. The members are Jamaica, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Sri Lanka. Iran accepted the presidency of the G-15 in 2006.


Senior Member
Oct 5, 2009
India-Iran Defence Cooperation

As Asian Nations work towards integrating familiar areas of mutual interests, defence cooperation by and large, serves as a significant tool that complements diplomatic enterprise. Collaboration in the realm of defence is widely considered a visible manifestation of a strategic relationship thereby fostering bilateral ties including political and economic relations and specific national security interests, crucially counting military capabilities. Of all the controversies that have surrounded Iran of late, specifically the debate surrounding Tehran's nuclear programme, India has made lucid efforts to project the Iranian case as symbolic of the sovereignty of New Delhi's foreign policy orientations. The complexities of Indo-Iranian ties could be attributed to the 'American angle' that looms large over this equation as New Delhi walks a tightrope whilst its ties with the United States (US) burgeon. In addition, fostering a close relationship with Israel also proves to be a litmus test for New Delhi vis-à-vis Tehran.

Iran holds particular importance for India as it provides unique access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, two theaters in which India seeks to project greater influence.1 As New Delhi promulgates a "look-east" policy to develop and sustain a multifaceted presence in the greater Middle East, Iran unquestionably is an instrumental player in this set up.2

Defence and Military-to-Military Collaboration

India and Iran's strategic partnership has significantly put in place military and energy deals estimated over $25 billion. The wide-ranging cooperation involving all three military services is quite a turnaround in the existing strategic situation in Southern Asia especially since the last two decades. In fact, the 2005-06 Annual Report of the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi claimed that Indo-Iranian cooperation had "acquired a strategic dimension flourishing in the fields of energy, trade and commerce, information technology and transit."3

The establishment of the Indo-Iran Joint Commission in 1983 was instrumental in so far as forging New Delhi's defence and military ties with Tehran. As the protracted Iran-Iraq war drew to a close in 1988, Tehran felt the need to rebuild its conventional arsenal and for this purpose initiated the process of purchasing tanks, combat aircraft and ships from Russia and China. Further, Iran reportedly solicited Indian assistance in 1993 to help develop new batteries for three Kilo-class submarines it had purchased from Russia. The submarine batteries provided by the Russians were ill-suited to the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, and India possessed substantial experience operating Kilo-class submarines in warm water.4 In addition, Iran remains inclined to acquire Indian assistance for other upgrades to Russian-supplied military hardware, which includes MiG-29 fighters, warships, subs, and tanks.

Defence ties between India and Iran further evolved post signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation in 2001. It was in the same year that India's Defence Secretary, Yogendra Narain, met his Iranian counterpart, Ali Shamkani, and supposedly discussed arms sales to Iran including Indian Konkurs anti-tank guided weapons and spare parts.5 India and Iran are hopeful that New Delhi will become a source of conventional military equipment and spare parts for Iran, provide expertise in electronics and telecommunications and hold joint training exercises with Iranian armed forces. Tehran also seeks New Delhi to provide combat training for missile boat crews as well as simulators for ships and submarines and purportedly anticipates that India provide midlife service and upgrades for fighters, warship, and subs in Indian dockyards.6

Bilateral defence and security ties received a boost as Iranian President Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami paid a state visit to India in January 2003 where he was the guest of honour at India's Republic Day. In a landmark accord, the two nations agreed upon future Iranian access to Indian military technology. According to the New Delhi Declaration:

The Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Iran are resolved to exploit the full potential of the bilateral relationship in the interest of the people of the two countries and of regional peace and stability"¦ with a vision of a strategic partnership for a more stable, secure and prosperous region and for enhanced regional and global cooperation"¦ Explore opportunities for cooperation in defence in agreed areas, including training and exchange of visits.7

The declaration called upon the two states to broaden their strategic collaboration in third countries-a clear reference to Afghanistan. Significantly, the New Delhi Declaration, apart from expressing discomfort with mounting US military presence in Persian Gulf, sought to upgrade defence cooperation between India and Iran specifically in the following areas:

* Sea-lane control and security.
* Indo-Iran joint naval exercises.
* Indian assistance to Tehran in upgrading its Russian made defence systems (yet to fructify).
* Establishment of joint working groups on counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics.

According to reports, India would purportedly be given access to Iranian military bases in the event of a war with Pakistan.8 India reportedly hoped that the 2003 New Delhi Declaration would pave the way for upgrades of Iran's Russian-made conventional weapon systems by India. While Indo-Iranian deals along these lines have not yet materialized, Iran has sought Indian advice in operating missile boats, refitting Iran's T-72 tanks and armored personnel carriers, and upgrades for MiG-29 fighters.9 Although there was a clear mention of military ties expanding further, the US State Department expressed concern but dismissed any anxiety over the developments stating that New Delhi had reassured Washington that the agreement "doesn't involve military and technical assistance."10

Two months after President Khatami's visit to India, in March 2003, Tehran and New Delhi conducted their first joint naval maneuvers in the Arabian Sea. Sea-lane control and security, as well as discomfort with the emerging US presence in the Persian Gulf, were partially responsible for this exercise. Another exercise was held in March 2006. Defence cooperation beyond this, however, has been sporadic and low-level.11 The timing of the second naval exercise in March 2006 was crucial as it overlapped with President George Bush's visit to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Given its timing, the conduct of the exercise signaled to Tehran and Washington alike that Washington will not dictate India's foreign policy.12 As a matter of fact the joint naval drill in 2006 prompted US Congressional criticism, but both the Bush Administration and Indian officials insisted the exchange emphasised mutual sport activities rather than military techniques13-in what was an obvious effort to play down the growing spotlight over this development.

According to reports appearing in September 2007, Iran is negotiating with India to purchase advanced radar systems designed for fire control and surveillance of anti-aircraft batteries. Iran is seeking an unspecified number of Upgraded Support Fledermaus radar systems from the Indian state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd (BHEL). The deal could touch a staggering $70 million and mark the first major defence agreement between New Delhi and Tehran. However, New Delhi faces intense pressure from Washington to not to sell the radars to Iran, as it is convinced that the request is part of Iran's military effort to protect its nuclear weapons facilities in question. The upgraded Super Fledermaus is a monopulse radar used in 35-mm air defence batteries and designed to detect low-flying objects, such as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The digital system contains a built-in simulator as well as a signal jammer. Crucially, BHEL has gone on record and confirmed Iran's request for these upgraded radars. Executives at the plant stated that Iran sought the same fire control and surveillance radar that the company upgraded for the Indian Army way back in 2001.

Adding on to the nascent military ties, India has also developed intelligence outposts in Iran, including the Indian consulate in Zahedan and a relatively new consulate in Bandar Abbas, which will permit India to monitor ship movements in the Persian Gulf.14 The two countries have not only undertaken to cooperate in space research but collaborate as well.15 Moreover, India can also offer medium-technology weapons such as medium-range howitzers, and more prominently, jointly train with the Iranian forces.

As India assists Iran to construct railway spurs linking its rail network to that of Central Asia, the process considerably reduces Pakistan's strategic leverage over these landlocked states thus providing them alternative corridors to the sea. New Delhi has undertaken vital development of Iranian port facilities along with the construction of road and rail links. Indian engineers have contributed immensely towards the upgradation and development of the Iranian port of Chahbahar. In fact, India's Ministry of External Affairs has claimed: "New Delhi and Tehran have agreed to 'join hands' in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to support the development of 'alternative access routes' to that country (bypassing Pakistan) via Iran's Chahbahar port."16 This shall presumably facilitate trade and is part of a larger Indian Ocean to North Sea initiative involving Russia and others, and mainly centered on the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Moreover, India is developing Chahbahar and is laying railway tracks to connect it to Zaranj in Afghanistan, proclaiming that this would be a commercial port. Additionally, India has constructed the 218 kms long Zaranj-Delaram highway that now links Afghanistan to the Iranian port of Chahbahar as part of the Afghan circular road that connects Herat and Kabul via Mazar-e-Sharif in the north and Kandhar in the south- thereby providing easier access to Afghanistan and possibly even further, to Central Asia via Iran.17

Attaining Strategic Congruence through Defence Cooperation

Defence cooperation proves critical in facilitating regional security and further cementing alliances with nations in the extended neighbourhood. Defence cooperation with Iran would go far so as to project India's role in the regional security structural design. Assessing the opportunities available for military cooperation with Iran, it is evident that Tehran is searching for sustained support in modernisation of its armed forces which have been suffering from lack of access to advanced technology, maintenance and spares support. Developing early stakes in the process would be a major advantage for India. For this purpose, commencing a defence dialogue could be envisaged, which could be progressed based on international and regional developments, providing opportunities for greater cooperation with Iran without necessarily impinging upon India's relations with other states in the region or with the United States.18 The band of opportunities is not necessarily sequential or time constrained and could be envisaged in the following fields:

* Assistance in modernisation of defence forces to include supply of arms and equipment as per India's national policy from time to time
* Defence research and development (R&D) assistance
* Strategic defence dialogue
* Training and exercises
* Courses
* Defence infrastructure development
* ITisation of the armed forces
* Maintenance assistance, supply of spares and ancillaries.19

It would also be evident that there are very limited reverse spin offs that would be accrued to the Indian military. However, defence cooperation would very effectively serve the larger aim of building a strategic relationship with Tehran as and when such an opportunity becomes visible or is envisaged. Being situated on Pakistan's western borders, Iran provides significant politico-strategic advantage for India. This provides a strong congruence of Indo-Iranian interests in ensuring a moderate regime in Kabul that is not a client of Pakistan. Afghanistan is critical to India's security and Iran can provide a major stabilising influence there. Accordingly, engagement of Iran implies an engagement with its armed forces and the need for fostering military-to-military relations. This could translate into sharing of intelligence regarding terrorist groups operating out of Afghanistan and curbing the activities of narcotics smugglers and drug traffickers. India and Iran have a major stake in keeping the Gulf waterways open for trade and energy flows. Towards this end, India and Iran envisaged naval cooperation for sea-lane control and security. Indo-Iranian naval exercises such as the ones held in March 2003 and 2006 need to be resumed in future. Furthermore, bilateral naval exercises could also encompass anti-piracy operations and cooperation.20 As far as Army-to-Army cooperation is concerned, it could entail the following:

* Joint anti-terrorist exercises.
* Provision of course vacancies for Iranian officers at the National Defence College (NDC) and Defence Services Staff College (DSSC).
* Provision of training for UN peacekeeping operations.
* Training in English language and IT skills for Iranian armed forces personnel.
* Offer assistance in training as well as maintenance and repair of key Russian equipment like Kilo submarines and MiG-29 fighters.
* Maintenance and repair and training support for Iranian T-72 Tanks, BMP infantry carrier vehicles [BMP-I and BMP-II] and Russian origin artillery equipment (105 mm, 130 mm and 122 mm towed Artillery Field Guns).
* Provision of spares would be a major component of military ties.
* India could consider selling Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and jet trainer aircraft.

Despite these many forms of collaboration, more than a few constraints are likely to curtail the extent to which India might reach out to Iran in defence association. Assistance in these areas would be contingent upon scaling down of Iran's hostility levels with the US and Israel. India receives major quantities of cutting edge equipment from Israel and as such cannot be seen as undermining its security by upgrading the perceived threat from Iran. New Delhi's camaraderie with Iran especially in the field of defence collaboration incessantly carries a potential risk of putting it at odds with simultaneous improvement in ties with Israel and the US. The field of defence cooperation is subjected to close scrutiny and sensitivity as it comes under the scanner of the US and Israel. Nevertheless, refuting to view international relations as a zero-sum game, India's Ministry of External Affairs stated in January 2005: The United States has its relationship with Pakistan, which is separate from our own relationship with them"¦ Our relationship with Iran is peaceful and largely economic. We do not expect it to affect our continuing good relations with the United States.

During an April 2006 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was inquired about New Delhi's relationship with Tehran. Of immediate interest to some Senators was an American press report on Iranian naval ships visiting India's Kochi port for "training." Indian officials downplayed the significance of the port visit, and Secretary Rice challenged the report's authenticity.21 Secretary Rice did however, sent a message across when she stated, "The US has made very clear to India that we have concerns about their relationship with Iran."22 Furthermore, Israel has also raised concerns vis-à-vis New Delhi's defence ties with Iran resting upon apprehension that India could divert Israeli military technology to Iran-a nation it describes as the "epicenter of terrorism." During Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to India in September 2003, Sharon was reported to have demanded explicit guarantees from India that it would not transfer any technology acquired from Israel to any third country, especially Iran.23

Yet another episode that established India's autonomous foreign policy approach came in March 2007 when Washington conducted its war games in the Persian Gulf-its largest show of force in the region since the 2003 intervention in Iraq involving USS Eisenhower and USS Stennis. This coincided with the visit of the Iranian Naval Chief to India-a reflection of the importance that Iran attached to its growing defence ties with India.24 Additionally, a naval cadet training ship visited India, and in 2007, the Indian government allowed a limited number of Iranian officers to participate in joint training courses with officers from several other countries.25


India will have to compete for influence in Iran and military-to-military ties would go a long way in cementing relations with Iran. Iran lies at the core of the world's energy heartland formed by the Middle East and Central Asia. As such, enlightened self-interest demands that India should engage Iran in a constructive manner to safeguard its significant geopolitical and energy security stakes.

As of now, defence cooperation between the two countries appears low and patchy with ample scope for gaining momentum. Closer ties between New Delhi and Tehran especially in the realm of defence cooperation shall be of critical significance to both nations even as it might impact upon the West Asian politico-strategic dynamic. Despite the fact that resisting unvarying US pressure towards keeping its diplomatic and political channels open vis-à-vis Tehran, New Delhi should maintain an independent line while strategizing its foreign policy sans any threads binding the same. Thus, in a move that could radically alter the geopolitics of the region, Indian and Iranian defence cooperation could well prove to be an essential tool of foreign policy thereby strengthening mutual trust and enhancing security and stability in the region. It shall further be a significant pointer towards the emerging strategic calculations in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.


Senior Member
Oct 5, 2009
India, Iran should replace 'dying' big powers: Ahmadinejad

In the rapidly changing world structure, Iran and India must stay together and should not neglect the present opportunities to replace the "dying" big powers, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told visiting External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna on Tuesday.

Mr. Krishna, who was here representing India at the meeting of G-15 developing nations, met Mr. Ahmadinejad and the two leaders highlighted the need for the two nations to work together on regional issues.

"The two leaders talked about situation in the region," an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said and described the near 30-minute meeting as "warm and cordial interaction".

"It (Af-Pak situation) was briefly mentioned... The two leaders touched upon the situation in the region," he said.

The Iranian President wanted the two nations to be in touch on regional issues, the spokesperson said.

"Referring to regional situation, the President underlined the desirability (and) need for India and Iran to be in touch (and) to work together," he said.

Mr. Ahmadinejad told Mr. Krishna that Iran and India should stay together for three reasons namely because of their cultural characteristics and the common historical records, the present situation in the region as well as the contemporary world conditions which call for close cooperation between the two countries, official IRNA agency said.

"He (Ahmadinejad) also underlined the rapidly changing world structure and said Iran and India should not neglect the present opportunities to replace the dying big powers," it said. The Iranian President was apparently referring to the U.S. and other western countries.

The fiery Iranian leader believed closer ties between Iran and India will benefit other countries as well because Tehran and New Delhi have always sought peace and security for both the region and the world, the agency said.

The Indian spokesman said: "India has always played an important role in global affairs including NAM and G-15 organisations."

Mr. Krishna also conveyed the greetings of President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the President, and to the leadership and people of Iran.

"External Affairs Minister congratulated the President and the Iranian Government for the very successful hosting and conduct of the G-15 Summit and excellent arrangements made," the spokesperson said.

Recalling India's civilisational links with Iran, Mr. Krishna noted that the two nations were neighbours (before India's partition) and have always been good friends.

Mr. Ahmadinejad warmly welcomed the External Affairs Minister and echoed his sentiments, saying India and Iran had joint roots.

He also expressed satisfaction that the Indo-Iran Joint Commission would take place shortly which would "give impetus to cooperative and multi-faceted ties".

The last Joint Commission meeting was held about 18 months ago here and the next meeting is planned in New Delhi.

Iran, he said, was happy to see India's economic development and progress which was good for the region.

The President requested Mr. Krishna to convey his greeting to the President and the Prime Minister of India.

Mr. Krishna thanked the President of Iran for receiving him warmly.

The External Affairs Minister was assisted by Indian Ambassador to Iran Sanjay Singh, Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) in the Foreign Office Yash Sinha and other officials, while the Iranian team, comprised Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Fathollahi and Director General of Asian Affiars among others.

Krishna had on Monday met his counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki and discussed bilateral relations and trade ties.


Tihar Jail
Aug 6, 2009
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Iran backs India's role in Afghanistan

Anirban Bhaumik, Tehran, May 18, DHNS:

Iran has backed India's role in Afghanistan, despite differences between New Delhi and Tehran on the withdrawal of US-led International Security Assistance Force from the conflict-ravaged country.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told External Affairs Minister S M Krishna that Tehran wanted India to play a greater role in Afghanistan, as well as on other regional and global situations.

Krishna called on Iranian President at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, a few hours before leaving Tehran at the end of a four-day-long tour. During the half-an-hour long "warm and very cordial" meeting; Ahmadinejad stressed that New Delhi and Tehran should be "in touch and work together" on regional and international affairs.

According to Joint Secretary and spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Vishnu Prakash, Iranian President said that India had always played an important role in world affairs, including in the Non-Aligned Movement and other multilateral forums and hoped that it would continue to do so in the evolving global and regional context too.

"India as an influential country can play a very decisive role in the region," the Information and Media Office of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Mottaki as telling Krishna during a bilateral meeting on the sideline of the G-15 summit on Monday.

The remarks of Ahmadinejad and Mottaki came amid growing unease in New Delhi over the Af-Pak policy of President Obama and Islamabad's aggressive campaign to stress the role of Iran and India in Afghanistan's reconstruction. India's pledged assistance in reconstruction in Afghanistan has already crossed $1.3 billion. Although several projects have already been completed, New Delhi has been re-calibrating its role in the country in the wake of the February 26 terrorist attack that killed seven Indians in Kabul. Ten Indians were killed in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009.

Though Iran, unlike India, wants the US-led International Security Assistance Force to withdraw from Afghanistan soon; Tehran shares New Delhi's opposition to Obama Administration's move for reconciliation with so-called 'good Taliban'.

Krishna reached Tehran on Saturday to give a fresh impetus to India-Iran ties that was at a low ebb ever since New Delhi sided with Washington and voted against Iran in the IAEA in 2005 and 2006.


Nov 16, 2009
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India snubs US, hails Iran's N-plan

NEW DELHI: The growing policy rift between India and the US on how to deal with Iran's nuclear enrichment plans has come out in the open with foreign minister S M Krishna disagreeing with the American position to welcome Tehran's decision to send its low enriched uranium stock to Turkey.

"That Iran has agreed to send enriched uranium to Turkey, is, I think, a constructive move," the foreign minister told TOI.

Krishna was replying to a question on US's plans to rope in other members of the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran despite the swap deal under which Iran will send 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey within one month and, in turn, receive fuel rods for a medical research reactor.

US along with several European nations have taken a dim view of the swap deal facilitated by Brazil and Turkey, suspecting that it was just a manoeuvre to derail the push for Security Council sanctions against Iran.

The swap deal is similar to the offer US and other countries had put on the table in October.

US and others say that that the original swap deal, that Iran accepted only to reject it later, required Tehran to send out 2,640 pounds -- 80% of its stock -- of enriched uranium, and start serious negotiations which could have delayed its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Now, 2,640 pounds amount to just about half of Iran's stock.

That the fresh swap deal puts no curbs on Iran's plan to accelerate enrichment, and leaves it free to take back the fuel stored in Turkey when it wants, are other reasons why US continues to work for UNSC sanctions against Tehran.

Krishna who was in Tehran when Iran agreed to uranimum swap with Turkey did not agree that sanctions had become inevitable. He said, "Efforts should be made to encourage Iran to deal directly with the IAEA so that it could come to the mainstream. That would be a desirable objective. But I don't know what will happen in future."

His remarks tied in with the perception that India, annoyed Iran by voting in the IAEA against Iran, was busy trying to mend fences. "Civility is certainly no weakness. If I have tried to put our bilateral relationship on a cordial pedestal, it is because of our deep desire to have a friendly relationship with Iran with which we have civilisational and other links."

Asked about the perception of there being a disconnect between US and India over Iran and Afghanistan, the foreign minister said, "US has its own foreign policy and India has its own and if the two were to converge at some point, that doesn't mean to say that we are camp followers of one or the other country. It so happens that both of us take the same view of the relationship."

India's efforts to repair ties with Iran have been encouraged by their shared fears over Pakistan's moves to capitalise on US's anxiety to pull out of Afghanistan to install a proxy regime.



Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
India's course correction on Iran

By M K Bhadrakumar

The agreement between Iran, Turkey and Brazil for a swap deal on the stockpile of Tehran's nuclear fuel sets the stage for a diplomatic pirouette of high significance for regional security. The paradigm shift affects Indian interests.

The Barack Obama administration has hastily debunked the Iran-Turkey-Brazil deal, which was announced in Tehran on Monday, and announced its intention to press ahead with a United Nations Security Council sanctions resolution, claiming that a "strong draft" has been reached by the so-called "Iran Six" (the five permanent council members plus Germany). The grandstanding highlights that Washington's policy is at a crossroads as the cohesiveness of the "Iran Six" comes under renewed stress.

The statements and innuendos - and, more importantly, the

unspoken words - from Moscow and Beijing suggest the two capitals are quietly chuckling with pleasure over America's discomfort over Iran outsmarting the Obama administration's own best instrument of diplomacy in present-day world politics - "smart power".

Russian commentators even portray that Moscow had a hand in bringing Iran, Turkey and Brazil together in an act of strategic defiance to the United States - which is a considerable exaggeration of the emerging templates of the Iran nuclear issue. China, on the other hand, has coyly welcomed the announcement in Tehran without rubbing salt into America's injured pride.

Evidently Russia and China, both members of the "Iran Six", have left the door ajar for much horse-trading with the Obama administration that is sure to follow in the coming weeks.

For India all this becomes a morality play of big-power politics. And it offers salutary lessons as to where things went horribly wrong in India's Iran policy in the past three to four years and how the recent course corrections now need to go further.

Plainly put, the "Iran Six" is preaching from the high table and arrogating the business of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Yet, Russia and China claim they are votaries of a democratic world order that respects international law and the equality of all states, big and small.

The realpolitik for Indian interests
Clearly, relations with the US are of the highest priority for India, as they are for Russia or China. But the similarity ends there. For the foreseeable future, despite the heart-warming prognosis by the world community hailing India as a potentially emerging global player, the hard reality is that such a prospect remains distant in the scheme of things. When it comes to issues such as the situation around Iran, India lacks the wherewithal of Russia or China.

While Russia and China give lip-service to their shared interests with developing countries and they profess ardor for a polycentric world order, ultimately they remain self-centered, comfortable in the knowledge of their assured veto power in the UN and their sequestered place within the discriminatory nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. Unsurprisingly, they are paramountly focused on perpetuating their privileged position as arbiters of regional problems.

Russia and China are crafting an opportunistic tradeoff in the subsoil of their relationship with the US - but without forgoing the luscious Persian fruit either. They keep the reserve option to laterally get into the matrix of the Iran-Brazil-Turkey swap deal if it gains traction by virtue of their key role within the "Iran Six", while at the same time they are constantly factoring in a probable US-Iran rapprochement.

On the other hand, India is almost similarly placed vis-a-vis the US as Brazil or Turkey are. The fact that these two countries, which are close partners of the US, have not drawn Washington's ire shouldn't go unnoticed. New Delhi's apprehensions that any independent line on the Iran nuclear issue might upset the rhythm of US-India relations seems, in introspect, to have been entirely unwarranted. Countries that have taken an independent line on the Iran nuclear issue during crucial IAEA votes - Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Egypt - have not exactly come to grief. On the contrary, India's traditional ties with Iran grievously suffered when it began blindly toeing the American line.

Worse still, Tehran harbors a suspicion that New Delhi might have used its ''Iran card'' to ingratiate itself with the George W Bush administration. The signs are that Tehran has made a cool analysis about damage control and has decided to more or less relegate its ties with New Delhi to a place on the backburner, even while going through the occasional motions of friendship and exchange of views that the two neighbors cannot do without.

New Delhi needs to take stock that Obama is an extraordinarily gifted politician endowed with intellectuality and it is conceivable he may come up with new thinking and a new approach to the problem. Monday's swap deal underscored indisputably that US policy on Iran is in a cul-de-sac. A reversal becomes inevitable. To be sure, Obama has taken note that Turkey and Brazil highlighted the existence of a whole world beyond the secretive, cloistered framework of the "Iran Six".

New Delhi has of late been attempting to follow in the footsteps of Russian and Chinese policies. Here too, a rethink is in order. India needs to factor in gains accruing to Russia and China from a continuing US-Iran standoff. The Western embargo against Tehran is keeping Iranian energy exports out of the European energy market that might otherwise have competed with Russian supplies. Energy exports constitute the single-biggest trump card of Russian foreign policy to modulate Western policies toward Moscow.

As for China, it is indeed having quite a field day as an exporter of goods and services to Iran as well as for advancing plans to evacuate Iranian gas and oil through pipelines across Central Asia that are nearing completion. In sum, Beijing has done splendidly well.

Russia and China, therefore, have complementary interests in shepherding Iranian energy exports to the Asian market. How is India placed in the energy equations? On balance, India in no way benefits out of the US-Iran standoff and, in fact, has a great deal to lose as regional tensions prevail in a region which forms its extended neighborhood. The Iran nuclear issue potentially can complicate the US-India strategic partnership as New Delhi will be firmly opposed to any use of force in the resolution of the problem.
Equally, the bottom line is that Iran is a major source of energy supplies for the expanding Indian economy. In geopolitical terms, a leap of faith uncluttered by the debris in the India-Pakistan relationship will dictate that the Iran gas pipeline project offers a rare opportunity for New Delhi to make its western neighbor a stakeholder in regional cooperation. Even at the height of the Cold War with nuclear armies preparing for Armageddon, pipelines criss-crossed the Iron Curtain. Alas, the Indian strategic community has a closed mind, as things stand, when it comes to developing a matrix of regional cooperation that even remotely includes Pakistan.

India's diplomatic ingenuity lies in working on the US thinking to persuade it to become a partner in the Iran pipeline project. The prospect offers a "win-win" situation. Iran doesn't hide its panache for Big Oil. The US has stakes in India-Pakistan normalization. India and Pakistan's energy markets offer massive business for American oil companies. The US involvement acts as a guarantee for the pipeline. Least of all, Washington too wishes to make Tehran a stakeholder in regional stability.

New Delhi should closely study Turkey's motivations on the Iran nuclear issue. Turkey has interests almost similar to India's and its supple diplomacy enables it to astutely position itself for the day when the US-Iran standoff dissipates. Turkey estimates that Iran is a neighbor (although they have had a troubled relationship) while the US is a key North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally and any midwifery in the inevitable US-Iran rapprochement becomes a strategic asset for Ankara's growing stature as a regional power.

Indian diplomacy has lately made some interesting moves toward Iran, beginning with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's visit to Tehran in February. The desire to craft a fresh approach is also evident in External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's consultations this week in Tehran. The path is strewn with thorns, as the Iranians harbor a deep sense of hurt about India's stance at the IAEA votes. Therefore, as the US's tug-of-war with Iran intensifies, New Delhi faces the challenge of not treading on Tehran's sensitivities all over again.

On the whole, Indian policy is principled, especially its line that the IAEA ought to be in the driving seat rather than a cabal of states with dubious intentions. But New Delhi is lurking in the shadows in a blissful state of masterly inactivity.

India should openly join hands with Turkey and Brazil in opposing the need for a continued push for UN sanctions against Iran. No doubt, the diplomatic initiative by Turkey and Brazil creates an altogether new situation and Indian diplomacy should grasp its importance and seize its potentials.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.


Nov 16, 2009
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India can't support Iran against UN sanctions

NEW DELHI: India may not have any option but to implement the latest set of restrictions approved by the UNSC against Iran despite New Delhi's constant assertions that it will not support any sanctions on that country which impact the common people.

Highly placed officials said that Tehran hasn't answered questions raised by the IAEA over its nuclear programme and that it will not be possible for New Delhi to ignore the fresh sanctions.

''We are still looking at how these sanctions are going to impact the people. We remain a responsible member of the UN and know our legal obligations,'' said a senior government official. So far, there has been no official reaction from the government.

To many though, this would appear to be making a virtue out of necessity. Foreign minister S M Krishna had earlier described the Tehran Declaration, under which Iran had agreed to send enriched uranium to Turkey, as constructive. The declaration failed to convince the US and other P5 countries.

According to former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal, even though there is no way India can avoid implementing these sanctions, New Delhi has nothing to be defensive about. ''Since these sanctions are imposed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, I can't see how we can avoid them. Also, as a responsible member of the UN and keeping in mind our aspirations for a permanent seat in the UNSC, we should not be seen as going against UNSC resolutions,'' Sibal told this paper.

Sibal said that India did not have to fear any repercussion in its relations with Iran because the latest sanctions did not necessarily seem aimed at the common people. ''Also, as for any impact on relations with Iran, the fact is that countries like China and Russia have gone ahead and voted in favour of these sanctions. This has now led Iran to accuse China of maintaining double standards,'' said Sibal.


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