The Bilateral Relationship Between India and Iran




Image source - rediff.com

The history of relations between India and Iran is a story of animosity turned into a friendship. The two countries may not have had a great start, but today, they have managed to come together and establish strong diplomatic ties with each other.


The bilateral relations between the two countries was of much concern during the cold war period back in the 1950s. While  India maintained a strong bond with the Soviet Union, Iran endorsed its friendship with the United States. Iran's consistent friendship with Pakistan and India's support to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war further blurred the possibility of any diplomatic relations between the two nations.    


An enemy’s enemy is a friend

However, India's and Iran's firm stance against the Taliban regime brought the two nations together and sowed the seed of friendship between the two nations. This friendship was strengthened when the two countries a Defence Cooperation Agreement in 2002. Since then, India has sustained good relations with Iran.
Being the third-largest importer of energy in the world after the United States and China, India was the second-largest buyer of Iranian Oil. However, the escalating tension between Iran and the US attempts to scar the bilateral relations between India and Iran. 


When President Trump came into the picture

The decision of the President of the United States, Donald Trump to unilaterally pull out of "Iran Nuclear Deal Framework" signed between Iran and six other nations after labelling it as the "worst deal" sparked the relations between US and Iran. In the wake of this, the decision by the United States to cease extending sanction waiver to nations importing Iranian Oil further aggravates the situation.

This move by the United States had direct implications on India as it was the second-largest importer of Iranian Oil. The allowance of temporary sanction waiver by the US to the biggest purchasers of Iran's oil set a ticking clock on India to diversify the countries from which it imported oil.


Aftermath this sudden withdrawal of sanction waiver by the US, India has announced that it has ended all oil imports from Iran. Harsh Vardhan Shringhla, India's Ambassador to the US, while announcing the same, firmly called on to the US to take heed to India's priorities. He even expressed that this decision does not have any impact on India's partnership with Iran on the Chabahar port. On the other hand, Iran has gracefully taken this decision by India accepting that India has acted in accord with its "national interests."


Chabahar Port - A ray of hope

The purchase of oil may have ended, however, the partnership between India, Iran, and Afghanistan on Chabahar Port assures peaceful relations of India with Iran. With the mounting hostilities between India and Pakistan, especially after the abrogation of Article 370, Chabahar Port comes as a shining ray of light opening up new trade opportunities for India, as an alternative to Pakistan's Gwadar Port.

In this light, Iran's offer to mediate between India and Pakistan stands as a testimony of India's close friendship with Iran. Thus, it can be said that while the ties between the two nations may have been full of twists and turns, the two countries maintain strong bilateral relations at present.


- Written by Vasudha Sabharwal

- Edited by Maitreyi Mehndiratta


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The Bilateral Relationship Between India and Iran The Bilateral Relationship Between India and Iran Reviewed by EMN on September 10, 2019 Rating: 5

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