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Iran, India discuss upgrade in strategic ties

Vapour

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THE PULSE OF THE MIDDLE EAST

New Delhi and Tehran are resetting strategic relations, "fast-tracking" transit trade opportunities and building on commonalities.
al-monitor

ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images.

BY SABENA SIDDIQUI
Feb 12, 2021





In a proactive move, India has made fresh overtures toward Iran, apparently sensing the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal is imminent.
Last week, JP Singh, the joint secretary for Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, paid a visit to Tehran.
Laying the groundwork for closer ties, he held political consultations with top officials and obtained updates on the progress at Chabahar, where New Delhi is funding a project to develop the port on the Gulf of Oman. The main purpose of this visit was to regain India’s lost foothold in the Iranian port project.

Then Singh also touched base with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, one of the main people involved these days in negotiations regarding the revival of the nuclear deal that is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). New Delhi is seemingly awaiting the removal of sanctions on Iran before it engages in any large-scale projects or business activity in the country.
Indeed, there have been some positive indications in this direction from Washington. Encouragingly enough, Robert Malley, one of the main negotiators of the 2015 deal, has been appointed as envoy to Iran by the Biden administration. Likewise, the appointment of Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state also points toward a possible US-Iran rapprochement, as she had led the team that eventually clinch the deal.

Therefore, New Delhi is getting ready to formally resume involvement in the development of Chabahar port. Even though India was exempted from US sanctions for development work in Chabahar, it had held off purchasing equipment and slowed down supplies while financial arrangements to pay for the infrastructure projects at the port remained pending.

Consequently, after some time Tehran had dropped India from various projects, but the situation is changing very fast now. Indicating New Delhi’s steadfast commitment, the Indian delegation headed by Singh has now handed over two 140-tonne cranes to the Iranian government.
Sourced from Italy, these cranes were supplied under a previous bilateral contract between the two nations to equip and operationalize the port, and this delivery is the first part of a $25 million consignment of six Mobile Harbor Cranes.

According to the Indian Ministry of Shipping and Ports, providing these cranes highlights “India’s commitment to the strategic connectivity of the Chabahar port project that will provide access to markets in Central Asia.”

In the meantime, tweeting that “recent international and regional developments attach particular importance to this round of general political dialogue,” Iranian Foreign Ministry official Rasoul Mousavi also acknowledged the timely significance of these latest talks.
Then, just two days later, Indian delegates visited the port to discuss development strategies. The basic purpose of these consultations was to upgrade the port into a key gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia for New Delhi.

India and Iran also recently held their first trilateral talks with Uzbekistan to mull over ways to jointly use the port for trade. Ultimately, India would like to include Uzbekistan in the International North-South Transport Corridor project for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

Inviting Foreign Ministry officials from Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, the Indian Foreign Ministry will soon be holding a quadrilateral meeting in New Delhi. Plans to “fast-track regional integration,” transit trade opportunities and the creation of a joint mechanism to handle Chabahar are to be discussed, and it is possible that more Central Asian countries would be included as observers.

Directly after Singh’s return from Tehran, New Delhi hosted Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami. On his first visit to the Indian capital, Hatami had talks with his counterpart, Rajnath Singh, then left for Bangalore where he participated in the Aero-India 2021 and met the Indian army chief.

Optimistic about Indo-Iranian relations, Hatami said, “Tehran and New Delhi have cultural and historical commonalities, common approaches toward many regional and international issues and geographical capacities, particularly in the Indian Ocean.”

He said there was great potential for expanding ties, “particularly in the defense and military sectors.” Attending the first conclave of defense ministers of the Indian Ocean region , Hatami also pointed out that Iran has an important strategic location while India has a long coastline, and that both are major countries in the region that have managed to maintain stable ties.

Saying “the link between the Indian Ocean and the North-South Corridor and connection with the Central Asian states and the Caucasus are the grounds for which we need to pursue broadened relations,” Hatami added, “These capacities can play a significant role in expanding the two countries’ relations, particularly in the defense and military sectors.”
Already having a defense cooperation agreement between them since 2002, this trip by Hatami could give a further boost to Indo-Iranian strategic relations.

Since any change of direction by Iran is bound to have a regional impact, here are some of the likely scenarios:
First, if the nuclear deal is salvaged, there is more of the likelihood that Iran will stop “looking East” and maybe even decrease its tilt toward China. Instead, it would try to re-establish business with Western countries, as this is exactly what it had done in 2015 when the JCPOA was first implemented.

Second, as Iran and India already have a defense pact between them, an upgraded strategic role could have a negative impact on Sino-Pakistani projects in the region. Ever since China and Pakistan announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, India cannot help but feel encircled. Moving in next door in Chabahar would be the ideal setup for New Delhi to keep an eye on developments in the Gwadar port and on Pakistan’s coastline.
Third, trying to break Chinese influence in the region, India would want to redirect Afghanistan and Central Asia toward its own routes. Having a pivotal role in advancing New Delhi’s ambitions, the port of Chabahar is center stage.

In case Iran does go ahead with the widely discussed 25-year strategic partnership with China, it could complicate matters, as Beijing’s prospective $400 billion deal includes access to all of Iran’s ports. In a recent television interview, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the China-Iran 25-year deal will be finalized soon and that the two countries are not far from reaching an agreement.

Apparently, Iran continues to keep all its options open where regional alliances are concerned.
Finally, for a few years, spats between India and China have become a regular feature at their mutual border in the Himalayan region. As India gets closer to Iran, tensions between Beijing and New Delhi will start one more front.
Due to the constant maritime competition between regional powers, the Indian Ocean region has become a “key geostrategic space” as it connects the oil-rich Middle East with economic markets in Asia. Enhancing ties with Tehran can be quite useful for New Delhi, as Iran is one of the largest states in this region with an extended presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean.

However, to some extent the success of India’s regional strategy will depend on the resumption of the JCPOA for now, as Iran’s reintegration into the world economy is dependent on the lifting of US sanctions.


What will it take for Pakistan to sabotage these ties and 'encourage' Iran to come to the table against India?
 

Ali_Baba

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India will find its options limited with the recent China - Iran trade deal and economic ties. As always, Indians are late to the party, and have little to offer of substance, esp to Iran.
 

PakistaniAtBahrain

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i think Iran will pick the China camp because it also has Turkey and Pakistan. India's camp has the US whose foreign policy varies from president to president.
 

Muhammed45

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China has been friend of dark hours. Id prefer them over Indians anyday. Hatami was invited so i don't mind his friendly visit, but don't expect anything strategic. India has Sauds for oil and port. Although they gotta bypass Syraq in any scenario.
 

BATMAN

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i think Iran will pick the China camp because it also has Turkey and Pakistan. India's camp has the US whose foreign policy varies from president to president.

WTF did i read... should it be China or Pakistan having concerns !!!

I pray for the safety of Sabena Siddique for daring report, challenging the friends of Kulbhoshan Yadev can be life threatening in Iran Khan's Pakistan.
 

BATMAN

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India will find its options limited with the recent China - Iran trade deal and economic ties. As always, Indians are late to the party, and have little to offer of substance, esp to Iran.
When Iranian industry is given access to Pakistan market... it's indeed a party for Indians and mulla puppies in Pakistan.
Imagine any stuff from Iran will be imported duty free and for this Pakistan regime will establish money laundering channels. Just wait and see.
 

PakistaniAtBahrain

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WTF did i read... should it be China or Pakistan having concerns !!!
i dont see any need for China and Pakistan to worry. China and Pakistan are in one camp, and Iran needs China more than it needs India. China has invested a lot into Iran recently, it buys a lot of its oil from Iran. India on the other hand can not be there for Iran no matter what because India has to please the US. we can also factor China's One Belt, One Road, and the overall economic potential of the region spanning Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, Pakistan and China. for that Iran needs to be in China's camp more than India. also, China's market and economic power is a lot greater than India. when it comes to defence technology Iran cant rely on India because the West can forbid them from selling to Iran whenever they wish. but China doesnt care what the West thinks, so naturally Iran will turn to China as its main weapons supplier. there are so many other factors, but i will stop there.
 

BATMAN

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i dont see any need for China and Pakistan to worry. China and Pakistan are in one camp, and Iran needs China more than it needs India. China has invested a lot into Iran recently, it buys a lot of its oil from Iran. India on the other hand can not be there for Iran no matter what because India has to please the US. we can also factor China's One Belt, One Road, and the overall economic potential of the region spanning Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, Pakistan and China. for that Iran needs to be in China's camp more than India. also, China's market and economic power is a lot greater than India. when it comes to defence technology Iran cant rely on India because the West can forbid them from selling to Iran whenever they wish. but China doesnt care what the West thinks, so naturally Iran will turn to China as its main weapons supplier. there are so many other factors, but i will stop there.
Only profit earner in one belt project would be the one winning industrial investment and having sway over Pakistan policy makers aka cabinet, in order to win favors for export to Pakistan, as Pakistan already officiate smuggling from Iran and launder money to Iranian bank accounts in UK.
It's clear why you are objecting to idea of Pakistan having any bit of concerns.
 
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PakistaniAtBahrain

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Only profit earner in one belt project would be the one winning industrial investment and having sway over Pakistan policy makers aka cabinet, in order to win favors for export to Pakistan, as Pakistan already officiate smuggling from Iran and launder money to Iranian bank accounts in UK.
i am glad you agreed that Pakistan and China need not be worried about Iran talking to India. as for the rest of what you said, we shall see.
 

Vapour

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Adding some more nuance, it's almost always more favourable to play both sides to align with your national interests, even if that means subtly subverting 'friendly' countries.
 

PakistaniAtBahrain

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Adding some more nuance, it's almost always more favourable to play both sides to align with your national interests, even if that means subtly subverting 'friendly' countries.
if course, Iran doesnt need to be hostile to India even if it is in China's camp. same way Pakistan isnt hostile to USA even though its definitely in China's camp. Iran can get access to India's markets, but naturally they will lean more towards China, just like Pakistan does, like Turkey is doing, etc.
 

El Sidd

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Each of every Indian diplomatic relationship works on the motto " We will abandon you before you abandon us ".

Afghanistan will decide Iran's fate.
 

khansaheeb

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THE PULSE OF THE MIDDLE EAST

New Delhi and Tehran are resetting strategic relations, "fast-tracking" transit trade opportunities and building on commonalities.
al-monitor

ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images.

BY SABENA SIDDIQUI
Feb 12, 2021





In a proactive move, India has made fresh overtures toward Iran, apparently sensing the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal is imminent.
Last week, JP Singh, the joint secretary for Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, paid a visit to Tehran.
Laying the groundwork for closer ties, he held political consultations with top officials and obtained updates on the progress at Chabahar, where New Delhi is funding a project to develop the port on the Gulf of Oman. The main purpose of this visit was to regain India’s lost foothold in the Iranian port project.

Then Singh also touched base with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, one of the main people involved these days in negotiations regarding the revival of the nuclear deal that is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). New Delhi is seemingly awaiting the removal of sanctions on Iran before it engages in any large-scale projects or business activity in the country.
Indeed, there have been some positive indications in this direction from Washington. Encouragingly enough, Robert Malley, one of the main negotiators of the 2015 deal, has been appointed as envoy to Iran by the Biden administration. Likewise, the appointment of Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state also points toward a possible US-Iran rapprochement, as she had led the team that eventually clinch the deal.

Therefore, New Delhi is getting ready to formally resume involvement in the development of Chabahar port. Even though India was exempted from US sanctions for development work in Chabahar, it had held off purchasing equipment and slowed down supplies while financial arrangements to pay for the infrastructure projects at the port remained pending.

Consequently, after some time Tehran had dropped India from various projects, but the situation is changing very fast now. Indicating New Delhi’s steadfast commitment, the Indian delegation headed by Singh has now handed over two 140-tonne cranes to the Iranian government.
Sourced from Italy, these cranes were supplied under a previous bilateral contract between the two nations to equip and operationalize the port, and this delivery is the first part of a $25 million consignment of six Mobile Harbor Cranes.

According to the Indian Ministry of Shipping and Ports, providing these cranes highlights “India’s commitment to the strategic connectivity of the Chabahar port project that will provide access to markets in Central Asia.”

In the meantime, tweeting that “recent international and regional developments attach particular importance to this round of general political dialogue,” Iranian Foreign Ministry official Rasoul Mousavi also acknowledged the timely significance of these latest talks.
Then, just two days later, Indian delegates visited the port to discuss development strategies. The basic purpose of these consultations was to upgrade the port into a key gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia for New Delhi.

India and Iran also recently held their first trilateral talks with Uzbekistan to mull over ways to jointly use the port for trade. Ultimately, India would like to include Uzbekistan in the International North-South Transport Corridor project for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

Inviting Foreign Ministry officials from Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, the Indian Foreign Ministry will soon be holding a quadrilateral meeting in New Delhi. Plans to “fast-track regional integration,” transit trade opportunities and the creation of a joint mechanism to handle Chabahar are to be discussed, and it is possible that more Central Asian countries would be included as observers.

Directly after Singh’s return from Tehran, New Delhi hosted Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami. On his first visit to the Indian capital, Hatami had talks with his counterpart, Rajnath Singh, then left for Bangalore where he participated in the Aero-India 2021 and met the Indian army chief.

Optimistic about Indo-Iranian relations, Hatami said, “Tehran and New Delhi have cultural and historical commonalities, common approaches toward many regional and international issues and geographical capacities, particularly in the Indian Ocean.”

He said there was great potential for expanding ties, “particularly in the defense and military sectors.” Attending the first conclave of defense ministers of the Indian Ocean region , Hatami also pointed out that Iran has an important strategic location while India has a long coastline, and that both are major countries in the region that have managed to maintain stable ties.

Saying “the link between the Indian Ocean and the North-South Corridor and connection with the Central Asian states and the Caucasus are the grounds for which we need to pursue broadened relations,” Hatami added, “These capacities can play a significant role in expanding the two countries’ relations, particularly in the defense and military sectors.”
Already having a defense cooperation agreement between them since 2002, this trip by Hatami could give a further boost to Indo-Iranian strategic relations.

Since any change of direction by Iran is bound to have a regional impact, here are some of the likely scenarios:
First, if the nuclear deal is salvaged, there is more of the likelihood that Iran will stop “looking East” and maybe even decrease its tilt toward China. Instead, it would try to re-establish business with Western countries, as this is exactly what it had done in 2015 when the JCPOA was first implemented.

Second, as Iran and India already have a defense pact between them, an upgraded strategic role could have a negative impact on Sino-Pakistani projects in the region. Ever since China and Pakistan announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, India cannot help but feel encircled. Moving in next door in Chabahar would be the ideal setup for New Delhi to keep an eye on developments in the Gwadar port and on Pakistan’s coastline.
Third, trying to break Chinese influence in the region, India would want to redirect Afghanistan and Central Asia toward its own routes. Having a pivotal role in advancing New Delhi’s ambitions, the port of Chabahar is center stage.

In case Iran does go ahead with the widely discussed 25-year strategic partnership with China, it could complicate matters, as Beijing’s prospective $400 billion deal includes access to all of Iran’s ports. In a recent television interview, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the China-Iran 25-year deal will be finalized soon and that the two countries are not far from reaching an agreement.

Apparently, Iran continues to keep all its options open where regional alliances are concerned.
Finally, for a few years, spats between India and China have become a regular feature at their mutual border in the Himalayan region. As India gets closer to Iran, tensions between Beijing and New Delhi will start one more front.
Due to the constant maritime competition between regional powers, the Indian Ocean region has become a “key geostrategic space” as it connects the oil-rich Middle East with economic markets in Asia. Enhancing ties with Tehran can be quite useful for New Delhi, as Iran is one of the largest states in this region with an extended presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean.

However, to some extent the success of India’s regional strategy will depend on the resumption of the JCPOA for now, as Iran’s reintegration into the world economy is dependent on the lifting of US sanctions.


What will it take for Pakistan to sabotage these ties and 'encourage' Iran to come to the table against India?
Pakistan doesn't need to as the Indians are untrustworthy and will stab the Iranians at any opportunity. The Indians are weak in their convictions and like jump from partners to partners like whores on heat.
 

aryobarzan

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Iran's Tilt towards East is done deal...you may not be aware but the issue was sealed last week when special message from Supreme Leader was hand delivered to Putin to make sure he knows no matter what the US does with regards to "nuclear deal" Iran has decided its future strategic path is with the "East" . All actions on Iran side are awaiting this current "US and Europe"oriented government of Rohanni to join the trash bin of history in 4 months. ..China's 25 year $400 billion deal is on hold until the new government of Iran is in place and it will be signed with this new government.

As for India...they will never be trusted again for what they did during Trump (oil imports to zero as per trump orders) and their arrival in the US camp as per Modi leadership...India will no longer be treated as preferential customer..just another country .
China, Pakistan, Iran,Turkey axis becoming more and more real.
 

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