News / Asia

India Treads Lightly Amid Accusations Against Iran

Police officers stand around an Israeli diplomat's car that was damaged in an explosion in New Delhi, India, February 14, 2012.
Police officers stand around an Israeli diplomat's car that was damaged in an explosion in New Delhi, India, February 14, 2012.

Indian police have yet to locate a suspect in a bombing attack on an Israeli vehicle that Israel blames on Iran. There are no easy options for India for getting tough with Iran.

Israel has made it very clear it believes Iran is responsible for the explosion that seriously wounded a defense attache's wife in the Indian capital.  And it is working hard, discreetly, to bring about diplomatic retribution.

India's influential daily, The Indian Express, reported Friday Israel is seeking New Delhi's support for a measure by the United Nations Security Council condemning the attack and censuring Iran.

India is downplaying public comments by senior Thai officials that a bombing in Bangkok was caused by a device identical to the magnet bomb attached to the Israeli vehicle here in Delhi.

Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat says that information is only attributable to the Bangkok police.  He says Indian investigators have not compared the explosives yet, and are not commenting.

India says it will not contemplate any action against Iran unless and until there is concrete evidence implicating Iran in this week's attack. Still, the unambiguous accusation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran was behind the attack is already creating concern among members of a massive trade delegation scheduled to head to Iran this month.

"This is unfortunate," said Vijay Setia, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association. "This escalation will definitely adversely affect the business mood of the people. People feel afraid if something goes wrong. We are concerned with the escalation of tension."

India has refused to join Western economic sanctions aimed at discouraging Iran's nuclear program, which the United States and Israel are convinced is aimed at producing weapons of mass destruction. New Delhi says it will back U.N. sanctions, but not those of individual nations.

Trade considerations

India's decision to seek dramatically increased trade with Tehran has been seen by some Western observers as irritating and opportunistic. But Delhi-based international security analyst Uday Bhaskar says trade between rapidly growing India and Iran is an unavoidable reality.

"Iran is a major oil supplier, hydrocarbon supplier, for India," said Bhaskar. "There is a dependency which is impacting national interest directly. India would find it difficult to arrive at this black and white kind of resolution in terms of dealing with Iran. And unless we have a credible alternate supplier, for India to review this, would not be an easy proposition."

In fact, India has surpassed China to become Iran's biggest oil customer - obtaining more than 12 percent of its fuel from the Islamic Republic.

In a workaround of international sanctions, the two countries are looking at an arrangement that would permit India to purchase oil in its own currency, the rupee, deposited in an Indian bank account. The rate at which those rupees would pile up puts pressure on India to export even more of its products to Iran.

Analyst Bhaskar says the interdependency between the two countries is likely to keep bilateral diplomacy low-key if Iran is found to have a role in the attack.

"In the event that this is substantiated, I think India and Iran would have to do some quiet consultation on the subject," said Bhaskar.

Apart from economic concerns, India shares centuries of cultural ties with Iran - and perceives Iran as a crucial partner in stabilizing Afghanistan after the scheduled withdrawal of U.S.-led stabilization forces in 2014.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid