Trump administration imposed certain sanctions on Persian Gulf nations that stopped India to importing oil from Iran in mid-2019. But now as sanctions are about to ease following the time span, India is prepping to get back into the buyers list and start importing again, according to the reports.
The current situation followed when Trump administration in 2018 reinforced the sanctions for Iranian exports and various countries got affected including India starting from 2019. But according to the information, one of the officials confirmed that the moment US sanctions will be lifted up, India will resume its buying of crude oil from Iran. Before the sanctions imposed, India was second largest buyer of crude oil from Iran after China whereas after Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Iran is considered as third largest supplier of oil for India. Now since the Biden administration got active, Iran is in talks with the US officials to renew the agreement and let the business begin the way it was before. Eat News got a chance to speak to Mr. Atman Trivedi who has an experience in working on US-India relations and U.S foreign policy at the U.S state department, commerce department and in the U.S Senate foreign relations committee for former chairman John Kerry. ‘President Biden is carefully testing, through diplomacy, whether a longer and stronger agreement is achievable that addresses bipartisan U.S security concerns’, he said.
While commenting about the sanctions and how it impacted India’s economy, he said, ‘As part of prior administration, maximum pressure effort against Iran, U.S participation in the JCPOA ended and secondary sanctions impacting other countries were reimposed by November 2018. Only a few friendly countries like India received a U.S waiver until May 2019. The impact of U.S sanctions on India’s economy appears to be rather modest. India made up for the loss of Iranian crude by turning more to the United States and Venezuela, while continuing to rely on traditional suppliers such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Middle East crude does tend to be cheaper.’ He informed that since the onset of Covid-19 last March, global demand for crude oil has plummeted as normal economic activity has declined or has been suspended due to public health restrictions. Unfortunately, India has not been immune to this trend.
In what terms India will make most out of the situation once the importing will start again, to which he responded, ‘India does not have the energy supplies to fuel its expanding economy and views Iran as part of the solution. India refineries are believed to be well-suited for Iranian crude, and Iran offers an alternative to OPEC, which has reduced oil supply during the pandemic to prop up prices. As more Indians are vaccinated and the domestic economy resumes growth, India may be interested in securing additional global sources of energy supply’.
India has a huge market for Iranian products and both the countries shares positive bond majorly based on energy supplies. Mr. Trivedi on, whether the relations have been disturbed due to the U.S sanctions, quoted EAT news, ‘The two countries have largely maintained positive ties. India has significant strategic, economic and cultural links with Iran. Its work on the strategic Chabahar port in Iran, which could provide a gateway to Afghanistan and central Asia, has reportedly picked up this year. India and Iran may consult more closely on the uncertain political situation in Afghanistan based on certain common interests.’ He further added that during the pandemic, India delivered COVAXIN to Iran and that recently. Iran sent 300 oxygen concentrators and other supplies to India to help the country cope up with the second wave of Covid.
By putting sanctions, is U.S indirectly using its power to sideline India despite aware about the relations? According to Mr. Trivedi, ‘The United States certainly does not want to sideline India on Iran or any other important global challenge or threat for that matter. On the contrary, it wants India to take rightful place at the world table.’ He also added, ‘Washington would like important partners like New Delhi to appreciate the threat that Iran poses to key U.S interests and allies in the Middle East and beyond, as well as how that regime’s unlawful behavior, including its sponsorship of violent armed groups, has destabilized the region. Over the last decade plus, India and America have made common cause in fighting radicalism. As the Biden administration works toward a negotiated agreement to address Iran’s nuclear and missile threat and return to a stronger JCPOA, India and the United States should be able to find common ground on this issue as well’.
Middle east conflict is going on for long and several countries including U.S and Russia have stepped in and trying to resolve it through diplomatic and other characteristic ways. Mr. Trivedi described about the importance of India-Iran relations for this conflict and said, ‘India has managed to achieve good relations with both Iran and the Arab Gulf states. In particular, New Delhi’s diplomatic ties with the latter grouping have grown noticeably in recent years. As such, India can play an important diplomatic role in helping ease regional tensions.’ In his opinion, ‘Although India and the United States sometimes approach Iran differently, both governments seem to recognize the importance of skillfully managing any differences and taking into account each other’s interests. This positive trend should continue well into the foreseeable future.’
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