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Q. India-Iran Relations: Outline the India-Iran relations in the contemporary times.
May 19, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

India-Iran established diplomatic relations in 1950. Both countries share some common strategic interests but bilateral relation went on low during the years of sanction on Iran.

Background-


Recently India has announced that the Prime-Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Iran in the third week of May. Till recently Iran was isolated internationally due sanctions imposed on them for their nuclear programme.  Now removal of sanctions on Iran following the nuclear deal has ended its isolation, and enabled its return to the economic and diplomatic mainstream. Already three senior ministers of central government visited the Iran for preliminary talks.

India-Iran relations in contemporary times-

  • Till sanctions were imposed on Iran, it was India’s second largest source of crude oil after Saudi Arabia. Both Iran and India share the goal of a stable government in Kabul free of the Taliban’s influence and also both are on the same page in their opposition towards terror groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

  • Despite having common interest in various issues bilateral relations went on low during the years of sanction. India had voted against Iran over its nuclear programme at IAEA.
  • India has slashed oil imports from the country by up to 40 per cent during the sanction period and backed off from a pipeline project that aimed to bring natural gas from Iran to India through Pakistan.

India’s interest- 

  • Strong ties with Iran are vital for India as India is dependent on crude oil imports. Till sanction it was Iran was the second largest supplier of crude oil to India after Saudi Arabia.

  • India need to step up engagement with Iran and should revive some stalled joint projects. It will help to fulfil energy needs of India. For ex. Development of the Chabahar port in Iran, this will offer India alternative access to landlocked Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

  • Other than enhancing India’s energy security, Iran would also act as a gateway to Central Asia.

  • In the context of Geo-Politics, good relation with Iran helps in restoring the equilibrium in India’s foreign policy, which, of late, was seen to be tilted towards Israel and Saudi Arabia. (India needs to balance these three rival countries, as all 3 are important for India’s point of view)

Conclusion-

From the energy as well as strategic point of view Iran is one of the important countries for India.  Hence India should work on to bridge the trust deficit in bilateral cooperation and boost energy and trade ties while expediting India’s connectivity plans.


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