SLIP­PERY PATH

The Hitavada - - THE OPINION PAGE -

ADAY af­ter its min­is­ter cau­tioned India of “los­ing spe­cial priv­i­leges if New Delhi cuts im­port of Ira­nian oil” the coun­try’s em­bassy cleared the air by recog­nis­ing India’s geopo­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions in the face of US diktat over pur­chas­ing oil from Iran. The US sanc­tions on Iran that came as a con­se­quence for its with­drawal from the nu­clear deal and Mr. Don­ald Trump’s bid to rally other na­tions against Tehran has be­come a tricky af­fair for India. Iran is a ma­jor source of oil sup­ply for India’s grow­ing en­ergy de­mands. If India gives in to the pres­sure mounted by the United States and cuts oil im­port then it risks a frosty re­la­tion with tra­di­tional part­ner Iran and a chance of los­ing ac­cess to crit­i­cal trade routes through the Chaba­har port. It is a slip­pery path that India must tread with ut­most cau­tion as it in­volves a big diplo­matic as well as po­lit­i­cal ma­noeu­ver to keep a strate­gic ally in good hu­mour. Trade and geopol­i­tics face a stern test in the com­ing days as New Delhi at­tempts to wrig­gle out of the co­nun­drum keep­ing na­tional in­ter­est as well as its in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion in mind.

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