The car bomb targeted at an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi has accentuated the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and the imposition of sanctions on its oil exports. India in particular is having a hard time responding to the ramifications of this attack. Today’s post highlights the variety of Indian viewpoints, as well as reactions from China and Russia.
This incident has castIndia’s diplomatic and strategic predicament in a harsh light. Indian commentaries reflect a deep anxiety and uncertainty over what this means for the future of Indian foreign policy toward the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as its energy supply and relations with theU.S.
- The Business Standard says New Delhi should not revise its current approach, and must reject the notion that it has to choose between Iran and Israel.
- But as C. Raja Mohan argues in The Indian Express, “Unlike in the past, India no longer has the option of doing nothing….While engaging all sides in a crisis is important, Delhi must recognize that circumstances will force its hand, sooner than later.” Yet even a great-power realist like Mohan is not outlining specific foreign policy prescriptions and instead suggests the need for domestic political unity, reflecting perhaps the enormous complexity ofIndia’s dilemma.
- Similarly, Bharat Karnad, a hard power nationalist at the Center for Policy Research only suggests that Indiashould tell Iranand Israelto keep their disputes away from Indian soil, and “publicly proclaim a policy that makes it clear that this country will not be made the site for a clash of strictly Western Asian interests.” An editorial in The Times of India makes a similar point.
A few analysts are more explicit in their foreign policy recommendations: (more…)Continue Reading →
Can India sustain Iran policy?
17 February 2012
As the situation in the West Asia careens towards war between Israel, US and Iran, India finds itself in perilous policy waters again. New Delhi’s refusal to take cognizance of the fast changing situation in the region, its return to an increasingly ideological foreign policy template coupled with a tendency for strategic procrastination is leading it into a no-win strategic situation.
Iran’s nuclear advances are reaching a stage where something has to give. A prominent essay published recently in the New York Times by the Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman suggested that Israeli leaders are coming close to a decision on attacking the Iranian nuclear programme. Indeed Bergman concluded after his interviews with Israeli decision-makers that Israel would strike Iran this year. Of course, as Bergman himself admitted in a subsequent interview, some of this might be strategic posturing by the Israeli leadership to put pressure on the US, but it is also true that Israel is increasingly feeling the pressure to act. Once Iran crosses the nuclear ‘capability’ threshold, it does not matter whether it actually builds nuclear weapons. And the favourite parlour games in capitals from Washington to New Delhi about whether Iran has the international legal right to walk up to the edge of the cliff is going to matter little because Israel’s worry is an existential one, and much more important to Israel than abstract points of law.