Iran, India, Afghanistan sign Chabahar agreement

US brinkmanship presents serious challenge for both Iran and India

IRNA- A distinguished professor for diplomacy and disarmament at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi believes that the US brinkmanship on the world affairs presents a big challenge for the world community including Iran and India.

In an exclusive interview with IRNA here on the US upcoming sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and its possible impacts on India, Professor Dr. Swaran Singh said: “Trump’s track record and his domestic compulsions indicate that he most probably will continue his ‘maximum pressure’ tactics against Iran and that now, guides the US foreign relations. As regards its implications for India, the case can never be overstated as India remains a major importer of Iranian oil.
Iran usually is either second or third biggest supplier of oil to the oil-starved India, where demand for oil products continues to rise. The US is pushing India to stop completely the oil imports from Iran by November 4 of this year, which, in fact, is impossible for India.”

“The US Congress has even adopted a law that empowers President Trump to impose ‘secondary sanctions’ on India if New Delhi continues oil imports from Iran and, so far, there is no promise of any waiver. So, this brinkmanship of the US presents a serious challenge for not only Iran and India but also for several other nations dependent on Iranian Oil”, added the seasoned analyst of the world affairs.

To a question on the reactions of the European nations and other buyers of the Iranian oil to the US upcoming sanctions on Iran oil industry, professor Dr. Swaran Singh said: “In response to the US threats of punishment under its recently enacted Countering America’s Adversaries Through Actions Act 2017, several European nations appear to be falling on line, but Iran’s biggest oil importer China has defended its commercial ties with Tehran and once again criticized any imposition of ‘unilateral’ sanctions by President Trump.”

“China, indeed, negotiated a way out where all of its oil imports from Iran will now be using tankers of the National Iranian Tanker Co. As regards India, reports say that most of its companies have not placed any orders for November and State Bank of India, that handles payments, has announced its inability to do so from November. But reports also talk of government easing import of oil from Iran and elsewhere to deal with possible exigencies in November. But, at the same time, India is exploring Rupee payments (instead of dollars) using India’s UCO and IDBI Banks.”

He added on the possible reaction of Iran to the US sanctions, Profrssor Dr. Swaran Singh said: “Imposition of the US sanctions on Iran on November 4, 2018 and India’s inability to cope with them could hasten drift of Iran into China’s Belt and Road global vision. Iran has already invited China and Pakistan to jointly develop its Chabahar port where only this February India had signed an interim agreement to build two berths committing $500 million.

Hopefully, like always, India may make tactical anti-Iran moves. But, in long -run ensure its ‘strategic autonomy’ and succeed in protecting the enduring ‘India-Iran Strategic Partnership’ which remains critical for protecting India’s vital national interests in the Middle East region and beyond.”