Under Donald Trump’s leadership, the nuclear deal with Iran has gone belly up. What does this mean for allies such as India, who rely on Iran for oil?
Recently, Iran’s Deputy Ambassador and Charge d’Affaires Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi, told India that moving away from the country’s oil could mean that other privileges will be taken away. The US hasn’t just moved against Iran, it has asked other countries, including India, to cut off oil imports from the now-sanctioned country by November 4. Countries that fail to comply will have to face the music.
Will India continue on with Chabahar port and risk its alliance with the US? This is a tricky decision, given that India’s original move was to challenge the Gwadar port.
Chabahar is an important port for Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. Iran’s India-backed port could become a major player in terms of the region’s geopolitical and geo-economic aspects.
India is stuck between a rock and a hard place. She cannot back away from Iran — oil is not something to take lightly, and CPEC could prove to be a serious problem in the future. She can also not ignore Trump — he rules the country that’s backing India’s membership to the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG). So where will India go? Only time can tell
Moreover, the port will help Iran share its oil with not just India but other Middle Eastern states. It could mean a big boom in foreign investment. And such economic power can help Iran flex its muscles at Gulf states.
India’s involvement in the port was to counter to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Moreover, the port would also have helped New Delhi establish trade links with Iran, and augment their access to Afghanistan, given that the port is around 800 km away from the Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009. However, US President Trump could not care less about the region’s geopolitical tussles.
Trump doesn’t trust Iran — and although IAEA has said that there is no evidence to suggest that Iran is up to no good, nothing will dissuade Trump from his stance.
India is stuck between a rock and a hard place. She cannot back away from Iran — oil is not something to take lightly, and CPEC could prove to be a serious problem in the future. She can also not ignore Trump — he rules the country that’s backing India’s membership to the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).
So where will India go? Only time can tell.
The writer is a Research Intern at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and can be reached at email@example.com
Published in Daily Times, July 26th 2018.