Home Contact Us
Search :
   

India & the World - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#2470, 14 January 2008
 
Time to Revive India-Iran Relations
M Shamsur Rabb Khan
Freelancer
e-mail: samsur.khan@gmail.com
 

The US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) recently reported that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003. This not only shifts the ground on which India erected its policy of distance from Teheran when it voted with the US against Iran in September 2005 in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but also provides a policy space to rejuvenate its relations with Iran. In the quest for a nuclear deal with the US, India lost crucial geopolitical ground by alienating Teheran. For example, a week after the NIE release, China announced a US$2 billion deal for developing the Yadavaran oil and gas field in southwest Iran, pushing India's ONGC Videsh out of the running.

In principle, India-Iran relations cannot be mortgaged to concerns about the US relationship. Christine Fair, a South Asia specialist at the RAND Corporation, points out that, "The US continues to have its relationship with Pakistan, which is separate from India's own relationship with it." Similarly, India's relationship with Iran is peaceful and largely economic and should not come in the way of India's continuing good relations with the US.

India's ties with Iran were never close during the Cold War. Iran under the Shah was a close ally of the US while India remained closer to the erstwhile USSR. Even after the 1979 Islamic Revolution it remained fairly distant, with Iran coming closer to Islamic Pakistan rather than secular India. However, it was in war-torn Afghanistan in the 1990s that India and Iran discovered that they shared common security concerns from the threat posed by the Pakistan-backed Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

India-Iran relations reached a high point on 26 January 2003 when the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was the chief guest at India's Republic Day parade, a privilege held in reserve for New Delhi's more trusted friends. India and Iran soon forged a strategic partnership and put in place military and energy deals valued at over US$25 billion. India has also been assisting in the development of Iranian port facilities and with the construction of road and rail links in that country. In 2003-04, India-Iran trade was US$1.18 billion, up from US$913 million in 2002-03.

In January 2005, India and Iran signed a multibillion-dollar deal under which Iran will supply India with 7.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually for 25 years beginning 2009. The deal also envisages Indian participation in the development of the Yadavaran and Jufeyr oilfields in Iran. To give an extra push to the India-US nuclear deal, India put the gas pipeline deal on hold though it largely ignored the US diktat. The pipeline is still stuck, but on the price front with Pakistan demanding a very high price for security and transit, and not because of Indian reluctance.

India's interest in Iran stems primarily from its demand for oil, a thirst that Iran is in a position to satiate. India currently imports 70 per cent of its crude oil requirement, and both oil and gas demands are expected to double by 2020 as the country's economy grows rapidly. Nuclear energy cannot be a substitute as it currently provides barely 3 per cent of India's energy needs. Even with the most optimistic predictions, however, nuclear power will generate, at best, some 20 per cent of India's energy needs by 2030 and that too only if the India-US nuclear deal comes in to effect. In January 2005, the Indian Oil Corporation reached an agreement with the Iranian firm Petropars to develop a gas block in the gigantic South Pars gas field, which holds the largest natural gas reserves in the world.

Iran now, seems no longer to be a member of the "axis of evil." However, India's friendship with Iran does not come in the way of its simultaneous improvement in ties with the US and Israel. Like Pakistan, Israel is concerned about India's defence ties with Iran. But Israel must understand that India's interest with Iran is more economic than defence-related.

Analysts - both American and Indian - have pointed out that instead of scowling at the relationship between India and Iran, the US and Israel should wake up to the fact that they have much to gain from India's close ties with Iran. The India-Iran relationship could help advance longstanding US objectives, including regional stability and security and the containment of Wahhabi extremism. In an article in the International Herald Tribune titled "India + Iran = Foundation for Stability," Stanley Weiss, chairman of Business Executives for National Security points out, "India's new ties with Iran make it more, not less, valuable to Washington" and that US President George Bush "should recognize that India and Iran are the key to regional stability, and join New Delhi and Tehran in an axis of friendship".

With the India-US nuclear deal in jeopardy, is it not time to revive India-Iran relations?

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Stability in 2015
Sri Lanka: Making a Case for Change
Connecting Sri Lanka: Train to Jaffna
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Burying the Past: A New Beginning for Pakistan and Afghanistan
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Bangladesh: Diplomatic Manoeuvres at the UNGA
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
IPCS Forecast: East Asia in 2015
China-North Korea: Reasons for Reconciliation
Abe-Jinping Summit Meet: A Thaw in China-Japan Relations?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?
The Future of SAARC is Now

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ‘Look East’ to ‘Act East’
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
India’s Northeast: Need for a New Anti-Terror Policy
India-China: Securitising Water
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015
India and Maritime Security: Do More
Indian Ocean and the IORA: Search and Rescue Operations

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
IPCS Forecast: Left-wing Extremism in 2015
Maoist Attack on the CRPF: Time for New Counter-strategies
Naxal Violence: Challenges to Jharkhand Polls

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
18th SAARC Summit: An Economic Agenda
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security
Obama’s New Strategy towards the Islamic State: Implications for India

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
IPCS Forecast: West Asia in 2015
Rise of the Islamic State: Implications for the Arab World
Islamic State: The Efficacy of Counter-strategies
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
The Af-Pak Entity: Seduction to Armageddon?
Maritime Combat Power in the Indo-Pacific
Of Lawrence, Sykes-Picot and al-Baghdadi
Voice from America
Amit Gupta
Obama’s Rapprochement with Cuba
China's Global Ambition: Need to Emulate Germany
Mid-Term Elections: So What If the US Swings Hard Right?


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
The Killing of Shahzad: Links between the al Qaeda and the Pakistan Navy in the Open?

India's Contentious 50 Most Wanted Terrorists List

WikiWrecks: 26/11 and US Intent

Sino-Pak N-deal: a Setback to India-China Ties?

Two Summits; Conflicting Messages

David Headley’s Plea Bargain and India-US Relations

Tackling Maoist Terror

The Strategic Significance of Arihant

Enhancing the Credibility of CRPF

Role of Private Sector in Preventing Terror Attacks

Change Has Come to J&K

Aerial Security Against Terror Attacks

Hindu Terror: A More Serious Threat

Tackling Terror: Reforms, Not Stringent Laws, Necessary

NSG Waiver: What does it mean for India?

Will the Nuclear Deal Hurt India's Foreign Policy?

Elections in the Himalayan Kingdom: New Dawn of India-Bhutan Relations

Sagarika: A Feather in India's Defense Hat

Securing India's Coastline

Indo-Israel Defence Cooperation: A Step in the Right Direction

Poor Policing and Weak Intelligence Gathering

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2015
 January  February  March  April
 2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007
 2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999
 1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1900, Tel: 91-11-4100-1901, Tel/Fax: 91-11-4100-1902

Email:
© Copyright 2015, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com