Home Contact Us  

Nuclear - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#3424, 11 July 2011
Debate: Is a Nuclear Iran good for India?
Siddharth Ramana
Research Officer, IPCS
email: Siddharth13@gmail.com

Iran’s defiance of international norms on nuclear issues came to the hilt when Abbasi Davani was appointed the head of its Atomic Energy Organization. Davani who survived an assassination bid in January 2011, announced earlier this week that the Natanz facility which was under-scrutiny by international bodies was firmly on road towards tripling its Uranium enrichment capacity; much above the requirements for nuclear energy. The writing is therefore clear; Iran wants to acquire nuclear weapons. Then, what are the implications for India? Should India welcome the move or join international efforts in doubling efforts against Iran? Iran’s nuclear weapons program should not be bracketed as a West Asian dilemma, since the repercussions of its nuclear outgrowth will have strong implications for South Asia and Indian interests in the West.

First, the myth of Shiite ascendancy helping India’s battle against Sunni militancy should be debunked. Shiite Iran is not a role model to be adopted against Wahhabi-Salafist Islamo-fascism, since it too has engaged in radicalization and patronage of terrorist outfits to further its own ideals. Recognizing this, Iran has even worked out a pragmatic working relationship with groups which should theoretically be an anathema to them. This includes relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and even al Qaeda. For India, it would be disturbing that Iran is a conduit point for even Haqqani group affiliated terrorists (The Long War Journal, 13 April 2011), and that Iran has managed to make a deal with the Tehreek-E-Taliban, to serve its interests in Pakistan (Asia Times, 30 May 2010).

Iran’s game plan is to secure its interests in non-Shiite areas, by deflecting attention from ideological differences, towards Pan-Islamic causes such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of late an increasingly anti-Indian view on Kashmir. With an extended nuclear umbrella which can comprise a North Korean-China-Pakistan-Iran alliance, the revisionist ideology of Iran will most certainly see a centripetal expansion with South Asia, which is also on its radar. This can be seen in the fact that the Iranian influence has made its presence felt in West Asia in the form of the Moqtada Sadr militia in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza and alliance with Assad in Syria. Towards its north and Central Asian states reflect tactics in controlling major energy transit routes, and expanding influence in the region with equally ambitious Turkey, and Iranian backed groups in the region such as the ‘Sepakh’ in Azerbaijan included in the alliance.

For South Asia, the first move will come in Afghanistan particularly following the international withdrawal from the country. To augment pan-Islamic support towards Iran, attention can be directed towards a non-Islamic entity which has been/is favorable to Israel-India. It will be entirely plausible for Iran to foment internal disturbances within the Islamic constituencies of India. According to Pew Research Center (2009), the Shia muslims in India constitute 10-15 per cent of the Islamic populace. Needless to suggest, the fracturing a largely cohesive sub-group in the country is not a solution towards future peace and tranquility.

Second, a nuclear Iran will impact India’s energy security. Presently, the overwhelming fossil fuel requirements for India are met by the West Asian states, of which Iran is the second highest supplier of crude oil to the country. According to a study conducted by ‘The Energy and Resources Institute of India (TERI)’, the requirement for the three conventional forms of energy-coal, oil and gas will continue to remain high for the coming decades, despite a major overhaul of India’s nuclear program. Any affirmative moves towards Iran’s nuclear program, will automatically earn the ire of the other Gulf States, and any fence-sitting measures by India, will lead to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons which it can then use as a cover to encourage Shia unrest in the mineral rich areas of the Arab states. Unrest in the region will spike speculation which will further domestic inflation and unrest in India, and as a result India will be increasingly involved in West Asian developments- an activity it has long been averse to. Iran also seeks to control energy transit points in Central Asia which will complicate the situation further.

Third, the diplomatic endgames which will come out of Iran’s nuclear possessions will point a strong finger on India. Nuclear hardliners will fault India for having driven the preceding hole in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty through its nuclear agreement with the US. Belying claims of strong strategic relations with Iran, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao articulated that they are “not as good as you may expect”, because Iran is difficult to deal with (Wikileak Cables, 28 January 2010). In addition, the implications of strengthening the Saudi-Pakistan combine through their purported nuclear agreements to counter Iran will put India in a dark spot.

As a result, Iran’s nuclear program has far too many grave consequences for India for it to be supportive of such an endeavour.

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: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
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
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

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?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

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
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
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
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

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

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Nuclear Security Summit 2012: The Challenges Ahead

On Indo-African Nuclear Trade Facilitation

Does Myanmar have Nuclear Ambitions?

After Osama - IV: What are the Global Implications?

Revisiting the CTBT: the US' Conundrum

Sino-Pak Nuclear Engagement-IV: What Can India Do?

WikiWrecks: An Analysis of Terrorism Financing

Sarkozyís India Visit: The Nuclear Dimension

The Role of Human Intelligence in Counter-Terrorism

Iranís Role in the Taliban Negotiations: Q&A

Af-Pak: Iranís Endgame

Iran-Turkey-Brazil Nuclear Agreement

Attacks in Lahore: Buildup to secession?

Nuclear Weapons Free Middle East: Utopia or Reality?

The Iranian Nuclear Conference

Nuclear Security Review: A Must for India

Airline Terror Plots: Lessons for India

China and Pakistan: Relationship in a Bottle

Need for an Indian Response in Somali Waters

Obama-mania: Iran is Not Invited

Nuclear Iran: Anathema for India

Pakistan: External Mis-dealings

Unending Drama in Pakistan

Q&A: Attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul

Q&A: Pakistan's Nuclear Bogeyman

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  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
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.