By Vijay Darda | 02-07-2018
We should have the right to look at our interests; America should refrain from playing the Big Brother of the world!
Janunat Garbe Nafse-khud tamam ast/Je-kashi Pa-be Kashan Neem Gam Ast!
The meaning of Ghalib’s couplet is.. Once if we make up the mind, the distance between Kashi and Kashan is only a half step? Kashan is a beautiful city of Iran and during his visit to Iran in May 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recited this ‘sher’ to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and also reminded that when the earthquake occurred in Gujarat in 2001, Iran was one of the first countries to provide assistance.
There is no doubt that India and Iran have been friendly to each other for centuries. During the Congress rule soon after independence the friendship with Iran got solidified. Prime Minister Narendra Modi strengthened this friendship further. If you look from the perspective of Ghalib’s couplet, the distance of Kashi and Kashan is shortening. Both the countries are better partners and a large part of India’s petroleum needs are met by Iran. But now a major problem has arisen. The relations between Iran and the US are on a sticky wicket and the United States has pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran. America wants that Iran should be taught a lesson. Therefore, it is threatening all those countries which trade with Iran. India is one of the prominent partners of Iran. The American threat is also directed at India.
The question now arises whether India will bow before the US pressure? I think that India should not bow down because supporting America on Iran issue is like cooking our own petard. Iran has supported us whenever we needed support. Iran not only provides easy access to oil, but it has given India a rich gift in the form of Chabahar port. It is very important for us to have Chabahar port to assert our dominance in the Central Asia. This is India’s first port abroad and will remain with India for a decade. Through Chabahar, India will have a direct access to Afghanistan.
Through this port, the first consignment of wheat has also reached Afghanistan from India. Earlier, the way to reach Afghanistan was through Pakistan. Chabahar port is significant not only from financial but also military point of view. Apart from this, construction work of rail line from Iran to Zahedan city will be completed soon with the cooperation of India. This city of Iran is located on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is obvious that we will be able to encircle Pakistan on the border of Afghanistan. If you look at the map of the world, you will find that Iran is an important route for India to access Central Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe. I mean to say how can we leave the friendship with the country wherein our interests lie and which has always adopted a positive attitude towards us? How can we leave it because of America’s threat? Yes, America will definitely try to exert pressure on India to not to buy oil from Iran. It can ban all those international companies which will work with Iran or in Iran. It is clear that in such a situation, international companies can withdraw from the task of laying Chabahar project or rail line. India has to be ready to face such a situation.
India has long experience of facing international sanctions. When India had carried out nuclear explosions in Pokhran, then many countries including the United States imposed sanctions against us but it did not affect us in any way. As far as Iran is concerned, India must adopt a cautious approach. In the current situation, if India ignores the American threat and take diplomatic steps in line with Indian interests, then Iran would adopt a more compassionate attitude towards us. Iran is considering giving natural gas to India at affordable prices. It has already proposed to give us gas at the rate of 2.95 dollars per million BTU to set up urea plant. India wants this rate to be reduced further. If India stands by Iran in this difficult situation, then business and trade between the two countries will also grow and both countries can become a force to reckon with.
India is trying to set up a pipeline to fetch gas from Iran. If this could happen, then Turkmenistan and Oman can also supply gas to India by pipeline. Iran has also agreed on this plan. Therefore, India needs to keep in mind that if it does not stand by Iran, then that country can lean towards China. China has been trying to woo Iran for a long time. There is immense potential for investment in Iran in the fields of coal, gas, rail, shipping and farming. If India allows Iran to slip through its hand, Chinese companies will step in and avail better opportunities. Therefore, I believe that India should adopt a firm stand. We should tell the world that we have the right to look to our own interests. America cannot dictate terms to us!
Before I conclude…
It is good news that US President Trump and Russian President Putin will meet on July 16 in the city of Helsinki, Finland. This is a good initiative because both of these are the most powerful countries in the world and their conduct towards each other affects the whole world. Hopefully they will help in making the world a better place by sinking their enmity.
America wants to lash the whole world with its whip. Due to its appeasement of Iran, it is threatening India and other countries not to trade with Iran! The question is who gave the US the right to become the Big Brother of the world? India is a free country and we have the right to look to our own interests.