In tightrope walk, India schedules talks with Iran and U.S.

In tightrope walk, India schedules talks with Iran and U.S.


  1. India’s tough situation vis-à-vis its relations with Iran and the U.S.

Important facts:

  1. Regarding Meeting
  • Ahead of the first set of U.S. sanctions on Iran, the Indian government is planning to hold talks with Iranian and American officials.
  • This would be the first face-to-face meeting with the U.S. since sanctions were reimposed.
  • The official’s team would also clarify the U.S. position on the Rupee-Rial mechanism it put into place in 2012, which allowed it to import oil from Iran and supply essential foods and necessities to Iran from a UCO bank-operated fund created with up to half of the import figure in rupees.
  1. America’s stand:
  • As a part of sanctions, America wants several countries including India to cut down oil imports from Iran to “zero”as well as cutting off trade ties.
  • The first set of U.S. sanctions will target Iran’s automotive sector, trade in gold, and other key metals.
  • The remaining sanctions will include targeting Iran’s energy sector and petroleum-related transactions, as well as transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
  • Recently, U.S. also withdrew from the JCPOA, multilateral nuclear deal with Iran.
  • Recently, the U.S was also responsible for a decision to “greylist” Pakistan for supporting the LeT and JeM among other terror groups.
  • During her recent visit to India,  U.S. envoy Nikki Haley’s asked India to “revise” its relationship with Iran.
  1. Iran’s stand:
  • Iran’s deputy envoy had warned that India would face a “deprivation of all other privileges Iran has offered to India”, if it chose to replace Iranian oil from other sources.
  • Iran’s role in supporting terror groups in West Asia would be brought up strongly, and they will highlight the U.S’s support to India on fighting terror.

India’s status:  

  • India appears to be caught in a tough situation vis-à-vis its relations with Iran and U.S.
  • India’s oil imports from the U.S. in June have doubled since last year.
  • Imports from Iran declined 16% in June despite India’s commitment during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit in February this year.
  • India is the second largest buyer of Iranian crude last year, second only to China.
  • The U.S. sanctions on Iran in order to isolate it after the Trump administration withdrew from the multilateral nuclear deal, have brought back into focus India’s trade relations with the country.
  • For India, its decision on procuring Iranian crude will have a cascading effect on its bilateral relations with both Iran and the U.S.
  • If it ignores U.S. pressure, it could invite sanctions of its own-powerful friend and defence partner.
  • If India caves in to U.S. diplomatic pressure to cut its imports of Iranian crude to zero by November 4, it risks its relationship with its traditional partner Iran, as well as access to important trade routes through the Chabahar port and the International North South Transport Corridor, as well as its international reputation.
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