U.S.-Iran Imbroglio: India’s Neutral Stance

India’s stance seems to be that of being sandwiched between a rock and a hard place. While ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry) states that Iran continues to be a vital business ally as India’s demand for commercial energy including hydrocarbon is increasing. Further the Iran-India trade is expected to hit $30 billion by 2015. Tracing the events heating up over the last couple of months: Iran, Israel, and the U.S., India’s diplomatic position seems be precarious like that of a cat treading on a hot tin roof. Previously, India’s decision to go ahead and continue importing oil from Iran caused a whir in Washington. Nicholas Burns – former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs wrote in ‘The Diplomat’ stating, “This is bitterly disappointing news for those of us who have championed a close relationship with India. And, it represents a real setback in the attempt by the last three American Presidents to establish a close and strategic partnership with successive Indian governments.” He added, “The Indian government’s ill-advised statement last week that it will continue to purchase oil from Iran is a major setback for the U.S. attempt to isolate the Iranian government over the nuclear issue.” He spoke about India’s reliance on Iran for 12% of the oil imports.

India could be viewed as being on its way to alienation and quagmire with this latest decision with Iran; it’s literally being coerced into choosing between Iran and the U.S. Its diplomatic stance on the current scenario seems to be confusing to most minds. Iran seems recalcitrant and resilient about its intent to go nuclear and the world vehemently feels otherwise. Keeping in mind, what India shares with the U.S. at this juncture, a ‘strategic’ partnership, India cannot let go off its dependence on the import while the U.S. has been anti-Iran due to its theocratic administration.

India’s diplomacy has always been on the mild and sensitized diplomatic route based on progress and peace. It is worth noting that despite its ties with Israel on tourism, agriculture, and technology, it has still been vocal about the Palestinian cause and need for sovereignty. After the thawing of the Cold War phase, India diplomatic relations with the U.S. turned towards progress and headed to the 123 Agreement signing of the US-India civil nuclear cooperation deal in 2005. As a result, India progresses as a paradigm nation of non-ritzy diplomacy keeping its focus on maintaining a common ground for one and all.

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