India connect of a ‘historic deal’
While the world hails the landmark deal that Iran has struck with the P5+1 global powers, chiefly the United States and the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany, what is in it for India per se? One look at the nuclear deal inked on Sunday – in which Tehran has agreed to a temporary freeze of its nuclear programme in lieu of Washington’s lifting of certain longstanding sanctions on the oil-rich country – clearly spells out that the struggling and almost dormant Iran-Pakistan-India oil and gas pipeline will be facing tougher days ahead. According to the deal, Iran has committed to halting its uranium enrichment beyond 5 per cent and granting greater access to inspectors, against a reprieve of relief worth $ 7 billion. So, even though the world powers, particularly the US, welcome this agreement as a watershed in Iran-US relations, India must approach it cautiously, since its own financial and commercial stakes have not been adequately addressed in this deal. Of course, the deal will be viewed as the result of a visible thaw in Tehran-Washington relations, effected by the current Iranian president, the moderate Hassan Rouhani, who has substantially softened the nuclear discourse and has been able to forge a meaningful dialogue with the world at large. Obviously, this has also meant that Iran’s resolute and brave stance on several global issues, including the debate on equal rights to nuclear enrichment for defence purposes, has been diluted significantly, as also the independent bilateral ties that the West Asian country enjoyed with a number of Asian and Latin American powers, including India. Moreover, it has not changed Israel’s viciously negative approach to Iran’s assertions of regional power and its nuclear programme for civil and defence-related purposes.
In this light, it is important to remember that whatever be the US’ position vis-à-vis the Iranian question, it needn’t be in congruence with the regional requirements suited to South Asian powers like Pakistan and India. Already, the US president Barack Obama has been advertising the deal in terms of ‘blocking Iran’s path to bomb’, an unsubstantiated piece of anti-Tehran propaganda. So, while Rouhani’s ability to streamline the Persian quagmire and strike a larger resonance must be hailed, there’s a tendency to clothe the deal in anti-Iranian rhetoric that must be curtailed.