India and Iran have been bound together for centuries until 1947 when the partition led to weakening of a direct link between India and Iran(in fact Irans’s first supreme leader had roots in India).India and Iran have been some of the cradles of world civilization and are now striving to get it back and to stamp their own authority over the world after years of isolation(Iran just got itself off from isolation).Both are aspiring powers-to-be and wish to play a more dominant and stronger role in world politics as the balance of powers shifts itself from West to Asia, Iran is an important player for India to look after in the unstable region of west Asia.
Iran after israel are the “2I’s” with which we need to maintain close and strong relations.Iran again after israel is the only true democracy in west Asia and though ruled by an Islamic theocracy is much more advanced and modern than Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.My admiration for that country is very high since it is the only nation in WA that has been able to manage religion and politics extremely efficiently despite many ups and downs.
Recently Sanctions on Iran were lifted after almost a decade of economic isolation by the west and some Asian nations.Iran presents a great opportunity for India, after the lifting of sanctions it has become a magnet for investments and business opportunities, we must not lose this opportunity for it would prove to be too disastrous if we don’t have the first mover advantage.
Iran has great strategic value for it is the only country apart form Afghanistan which will help us “Connect Central Asia” and who can forget the port of Chabahar, its placing just at the mouth of gulf Oman makes it a vital choke-point for various supplies notably oil and un-natural gas but as you know we have been sluggish to respond to such lucrative offers.
The Chabahar port deal was signed way back in 2003 and again an MOU was signed in 2015 by Nitin Gadkari who went personally to Iran to do the honors but as of today we have not yet taken control of the land which is supposed to be developed as a port-land at Chabahar whereas our arch-rival China has moved at a fast pace to acquire land at gwadar to transform it into a port-city, I hope the same fate does not befall upon Chabahar as that of hambantota(hambantota is a port to south of sri-lanka which was initially offered to us to develop as a port but we kept on dragging ourselves over it and ultimately the lankans got frustrated and handed it over to the Chinese-this is mentioned in Shashi tharoor’s book “Pax Indica”).Also China has finished the formalities to build a naval base at djibouti, again a vital choke-point for its so-called anti-piracy operations.
Iran can also satisfy our increasing appetite for oil and natural gas.There have been reports of developing a turkmenistan-iran-india gas pipeline but nothing has been official again.Iran is money-hungry and it will not wait for us to invest in its nascent economy.Apart from energy we can diversify our relations into various other sectors such as Pharmaceuticals,agriculture and IT.
A special desk must be created to look only and only after Iran related activities & special priority must be accorded to our relations with that nation as China has already made huge forays into Iran and we stand nowhere to compete with it.There are also chances that we may lose the Farzad-B gas-field which was originally discovered by us but again due to our foot-dragging in an auction.With its emergence from isolation many western nations and companies will seek to invest it in and we will lose the business advantage which we had during the time when sanction were still imposed on Iran and it treated us like a special friend, there is now increasing displeasure in Iran over our delaying tactics and it doesn’t sound good.
While dealing with Iran we need to keep in the mind the slogan of Vivekanand-
Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached
Published at indiaopines blogs