India and the Iran sanctions

CANBERRA — Writing in The Diplomat on Feb. 20, R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state in the Bush administration, lamented the fact that India was going to continue to purchase oil from Iran.

He was reacting to reports that to circumvent Western sanctions on Iran’s central bank, Delhi was negotiating barter deals (Iranian oil for Indian goods) and/or payment in rupees.

In failing to join in the EU-U.S. sanctions, Burns believes, India has let America down.

This begs the question: Has not U.S. military aid to Pakistan been more gravely damaging to India’s immediate security interests than India’s oil trade with Iran is to United States?

If Washington does indeed believe that the largess of U.S. friendship comes with the expectation that a grateful India will become a client state, the bilateral relationship is in deep trouble.

Earlier, on Feb. 16, Frida Ghitis wrote in World Politics Review that India must choose between Iran and Israel. As the mid-February bombing of Israeli embassy vehicles in Delhi by suspected Iranian agents proved, India is no longer aloof from the Middle East conflicts and tensions. Yet the Ghitis demand is about as meaningful as saying that Israel must choose between enmity with Iran and friendship with India.

This did not stop the Wall Street Journal from describing India as the Iranian “mullahs’ last best friend.” Coinciding with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit… >>>

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