There are 3 lovely god-ladies bearing rich gifts- the first promises India access to Central Asia (Pakistan bypass), the second helps under-write the Kerala model by giving employment to millions of Mallus, and the third supplies India with critical (civ, mil) technology (and which may one day need India as an ally, as much as India needs her). All of them are ready and willing to supply India with oil and natural gas.
The only problem is that these ladies insist on monotheism (they hate each other). It is just like Indian politics, if you love Nitish Kumar then you have to leave Lalu Yadav. Modi should be fine tackling this minefield.
Potential access to Afghanistan and Central Asia through Iran is
another crucial reason for India’s ties with Iran.
Since Pakistan is not
currently a feasible transit option to the region, New Delhi finds the
prospect of using an Iranian transit corridor attractive. India’s desire
to invest $100 million to upgrade the Iranian port of Chabahar is
linked to this need…
The impending drawdown, if not withdrawal, of NATO
troops from Afghanistan has made this Iran route—as well as potentially broader India-Iran cooperation in and on Afghanistan—even more crucial for the Indian government.
A fourth element in play is domestic. India houses 10-15% of the
world’s Shia population, much of which is concentrated in
….even as India has ties with Iran, it also has a number of other
key relationships in the region that will keep it from getting too close
Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Cooperation Council states
supply a significant amount of the oil India imports. Qatar is also its
largest source of imported natural gas.
The large Indian diaspora in
these countries, which is a major source of remittances, and the
significant Sunni population in India (over 120 million) also make these
In addition, there are existing and potential
trade and investment ties at stake with these countries. For Delhi, a
relationship with Riyadh is also particularly critical because of the
leverage the Saudi government is thought to have with Islamabad.
There is an overall sense in India that these countries are taking it
more seriously—partly thanks to Iran, partly in the Saudi case because
of American urging, but also because of India’s potential as a market as
other consumers drop off the list.
These countries’ interest in India
has been evident in the fact that in the ten days before Zarif’s trip,
Delhi saw visits from the king of King of Bahrain, the Saudi crown prince, the Omani foreign minister and the chairman of the Kuwaiti national security apparatus.
….India’s relationship with
Israel has also become crucial. That country has become one of India’s
largest defense defense suppliers, and is also
seen as a major source of agricultural technology and tourism revenue.
Furthermore, Indian companies are keen to invest in Israel’s technology
sector. The two countries are also negotiating a free trade agreement.
Since the Mumbai attacks, shared concerns about terrorism have created
additional space for bilateral cooperation.