Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Iran

Stratfor comments on India's vote:

Just when it seemed the Iranian nuclear issue was headed for another stalemate, India decided to curry favor with the United States by backing the campaign to refer the case to the U.N. Security Council. Iran responded Monday in apparent shock at this move by its longtime ally.

New Delhi did not act, however, without first giving assurances to Iran. An agreement likely was reached during a recent phone call by Singh to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, assuring him that India would not support any calls for hostile action against Tehran. Singh was extremely cautious in expressing his support for the UNSC referral by stressing that while Iran could eventually be referred to the UNSC, India supports calls for continued negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, in order to prevent a "major confrontation" from breaking out. India also shrewdly coupled its decision to back the United States with an announcement that the Indian government may "go ahead" with plans to build a $7.4 billion gas pipeline from Iran to India -- plans that are strongly opposed by Washington, since they would involve increased international investment in, rather than isolation of, Iran.

India, an aspiring hegemon, is walking a tightrope between the United States and Iran, which is, of course, nothing unusual in international relations. The coup it scored this week was in having New Delhi's stance make the world headlines -- and the fact that, when the dust settles on the Iranian nuclear issue, that much will be remembered.

5 comments:

doubtinggaurav said...

PR,

While this will give India some eyeballs in newspaper , I am not sure about it's long term effect.
I will be more interested in USA getting rid of Pakistan (as under Gandhism Indians are forbidden to do that).
As far as rogue nations are concerned Pakistan takes the cake.
Iran looks much benign in comparision to Pakistan

Regards

Jaffna said...

Primary Red,

I refer to my earlier comments on Iran. I resent Stratfor's claim that "India curried favor with the United States". India acted in its own best interest as a responsible nuclear power.

Iran's nuclear ambitions are not new. In 1998, then President Rafsanjani emphasized the need for Iranian chemical, bacteriological and radiological weapons for both offensive and defensive purposes. In 1989 and 1991, Iran became the largest recipient of Chinese arms. In 1991, Iran's Vice President urged Muslim nations to jointly develop nuclear weapons to deter Israel. In 1993, China agreed to build two 300 MW nuclear reactors in Iran, a move that it later suspended due to sustained American pressure. China, however, did provide missile guidance systems and did train nuclear scientists in Iran. The North Koreans likewise provided missile technology to Iran. In 1995, Warren Christopher, United States Secretary of State raised alarm on Iran's nuclear ambitions. International concern, in this instance, is certainly not misplaced.

This said, I do not disagree with Gaurav either.

libertarian said...

dg,

I don't know how many Gandhians exist - to my mind, that's a good thing. I'm very sure we need to solve the Pak problem ourselves - we've already divided the problem into Pak and Bangla problems, so we have made some progress.

The Iran thing is very interesting - after Nutwar's goofs, this is a great step. As Stratfor notes, when the dust settles on the Iranian nuclear issue, that much will be remembered. Much upside, little downside, and maybe even a new external affairs minister ...

doubtinggaurav said...

Libertarian,

"we've already divided the problem into Pak and Bangla problems"

Actually, it seems like we have multiplied our problems, what with Bangladeshis love for us.

While I do appreciate Gandhism, it is my firm belief that practise of Gandhism after independence (in actual or in token), has resulted in India becoming a soft state with appeasement as our solution for all the challanges to our nation.

Regarding Iran,

Let me admit that I am pretty confused about it.
While Iran is a potential danger as far as proliferation is concerned, by actively voting on the issue, it may have an effect on our long term energy security

Regards

libertarian said...

dg,

Regarding Pak and Bangla (and our other neighbors), let's not forget that on virtually any dimension India is more than twice as big as all its neighbors put together. The only area that this does not hold is the military where Pak's paranoia for self-preservation shows. It's up to us to set the agenda and then build consensus and enforce it if necessary. We imagine Pak and Bangla (and Nepal and Myanmar) to be _much_ bigger (in comparison to us) than they actually are. It's time to stop that. We are the big boys on the block - let's behave like it.

Regarding Iran, let's not forget that there aren't too many buyers of gas India's size. Iran does not have too many options besides India and China (the US won't deal with them and will actively obstruct dealings with them). If it isn't Iran, we'll buy from somebody else.

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