Context: Recent Iranian Foreign Minister’s first visit to India has many implications for bilateral relations.
- India and Iran shared a border till 1947 and share several common features in their language, culture and traditions.
- Independent India and Iran established diplomatic links on 15 March 1950
- India-Iran commercial ties have traditionally been dominated by Indian import of Iranian crude oil.
- Iran has been one of the top sources of crude oil for India.
- The proposed Iran-Oman-India undersea gas pipeline can help India move towards clean energy
- Infrastructure projects like Chahbahar Port, International North South Transport Corridor will help India to bypass the overland route through Pakistan and help in better trade relations with West and Central Asia.
- Iran would act as a gateway to Central Asia and Afghanistan
- India and Iran can engage each other to strengthen the demand for rule based order in Afghaistan
- A MoU was signed in 2008 on holding of “Days of Culture” in two countries.
- India over the years has emerged as one of the favourite tourist destinations for Iranian tourists and every year around 40,000 Iranians visit India for various purposes.
- India and Iran both face the threat of terrorism by outfits like Al-Qaeda amd Islamic State. Hence both the countries can merge their interest to counter terrorism
- The comments made in India on the Prophet was criticised by the 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
- The controversy has overshadowed India’s other diplomatic engagements.
- Iran is a part of China’s ambitious Belt And Road initiative. This might come in conflict with India’s interests in Iran
USA Sanctions on Iran
- India has drastically cut its Iranian engagement due to sanctions (oil import), while Iran has looked to China for more infrastructure investment
- Bilateral trade dropped to just over $2 billion (2020-21) from $17 billion (2017-18).
- Ties appeared to have been hit by New Delhi’s decision to join the Israel-India-UAE-U.S. group, portrayed as an “anti-Iran” coalition.
India needs to play a balancing act between the Middle East and the west. India needs to closely watch the space created by its exit, given India’s loss is an opportunity for other countries, especially China.
Source: Indian Express