30-Dec-2007

Wake Up

Wake up our foreign policy est., 'cos the world is changing:
New Delhi needs to think hard about the shifting templates of the Middle East’s geopolitics. All indications are that Russia and China anticipated, months ahead, the inevitable collapse of the U.S.’ containment policy toward Iran. How such wisdom eluded our government, remains a question mark. If the U.S decides now to march towards a constructive engagement of Iran — which seems likely — where does that leave the UPA government? The latter must first unscramble the omelette.

That is to say, it must rapidly deconstruct what it precipitated under American pressure — and then try to rebuild. Not an easy task.

The LNG deal with Tehran negotiated by the National Democratic Alliance government has all but perished following the UPA government’s somersault under American pressure at the International Atomic Energy Agency over the Iran issue. No one talks anymore about our grandiose plans of a “north-south” transportation corridor via Iran. The gas pipeline project languished while the government used one lame excuse after another to drag its feet.

The State Bank of India’s curb on normal trade with Iran is completely illogical. Evidently, Washington pressured us. While doing so, the Bush administration kept us in the dark about the NIE sailing into view. Now, what sort of a “strategic partnership” with the U.S. — and what sort of a “friendly” President in the White House — are we talking about? Washington took our government’s naiveté for granted.

It is plain common sense that India has a congruence of interests with Russia and China in optimally exploring the primacy that Iran places on Asia for its energy exports. That is why the Iran pipeline becomes crucial. That is precisely why Washington wants to stifle the project. The spectre that haunts Washington is the emergence of an Asian energy club involving Russia, Iran, China, and India. The U.S. apprehends that such an Asian grouping — first proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2003 — will disrupt its strategy of global domination. Through its lukewarm attitude towards the Iran pipeline, the UPA government has tacitly collaborated with the U.S. global strategy.

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