Tehran snubs Delhi: Indian FM, PM trips canceled

Tehran snubs Delhi: Indian FM, PM trips canceled

Moin Ansari
Indo-Iranian relations have hit a new nadir with visits by the FM, and even the PM being canceled due to the snub from the Iranians. The relations have plummeted since Delhi stabbed Iran at the IAEA (India votes against Iran at IAEA) and then launched an Iran specific satellite for Israel.

The geopolitical situation in the Greater Middle has changed. All the countries of the region are tired of Bharati (aka Indian) machinations and like all her neighbors are weary of Bharati hegemony.

Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have already made decision on the dispensation in Kabul. That agreement was signed between the three countries in Teheran. That agreement was then taken to all the immediate neighbors of Afghanistan and it was endorsed in Istanbul (sans India). Those two agreements were instrumental in getting 62 countries to consecrate the Pakistani point of view of talking to the Taliban and putting in place a broad based Pakhtun government in Kabul which would not be inimical to Islamabad.

Delhi is trying to scratch a hole into that wall of resistance–and not getting a toe hold. Bharati politicians have gone far and wide to try to get somewhere to get a sympathetic ear. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh even went to the Saudis and came back empty handed. They invited President Gul of Turkey, but he frankly told them that they Turkey could not displease the Pakistanis. A discussion was attempted with Iran, but the current news emanating from Delhi seem to indicate that the Iranians are in no mood to talk to the Bharatis.

NEW DELHI: India’s attempts to step up engagement with Iran on crucial regional issues, including Afghanistan, appear to have suffered a setback, with foreign minister S M Krishna calling off his visit to Tehran at the last moment amid signs of indifference on the part of the hosts.

Krishna decided not to go after the Iranians abruptly changed dates twice. It is not known if the visit will take place in the near future.

Sources revealed that Krishna reacted to Iran’s wriggling out of the dates it had intimated to India for the second time by saying prior commitments prevented him from making the visit.

India refrained from taking issue with Iran, but sources said that Tehran’s fickleness over the dates could result from a possible reluctance on Iran’s part after India took a stand favouring International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolutions against it for pressing ahead with its nuclear programme.

Bharat is facing failure on multiple fronts. It expulsion from Afghanistan can be gauged by the opinion columns of the pundits in Delhi and by the discussion about the withdrawal dates. It discussions with Kabul are on hold after Delhi’s blunder in supporting Mr. Karzai’s rival Mr. Abdullah. Delhi’s relationship with Washington is once again held hostage to parity with Islamabad. The Bharati relationship with Lanka was destroyed after it was caught supporting the rival presidential candidate and its proxy the LTTE was decimated on the Buddhist island paradise. All these are now being bundled as “malaise” by experienced Bharati diplomats like Ambassador Bhadrakumar.

The fiasco with Tehran is not an isolated item, it is emblematic of the bad policies of the past decades when Bharat parked the Tricolor on the wrong side of history. Bharat supported the USSRs invasion and did not work for the liberation of Afghanistan. In fact it opposed it. Bharat worked with the Soviet puppets like Mr. Najibullha who was found hanging for a lamp-post right after the last tank of the USSR left. Many predicts that the same end awaits Bharat’s partners in Kabul–the minority Northern Alliance.

Manmohan’s Iran visit also on hold

External affairs minister S M Krishna, an official revealed, had last month agreed to visit Tehran after receiving an invitation from his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki. In the invitation, Mottaki said he wanted Krishna to take part in Navroze celebrations. March 28 and 29 were the dates communicated for the visit.

Tehran later asked that the dates be changed to March 30 and 31. Krishna accepted and agreed to travel on the revised dates suggested by Tehran, only to find the Iranians seeking to change the dates for again, this time to March 27 and 28.

This time the foreign ministry conveyed Krishna’s inability to make it on the new dates. Sources said that by the time this second change was communicated to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) by the Iranian embassy in Delhi, Krishna’s visit to Singapore had already been announced. Iranian embassy officials told the MEA that they wanted the dates changed again because of Navroze celebrations on March 27 and 28.

The message from Tehran is clear. It canceled a $6 billion LNG contract right after Delhi stabbed Tehran at the IAEA. Iran has steadfastly refused to honor Bharat’s request to resurrect the LNG deal. The main impediment to Iran-Delhi relations is Bharats deep and profound partnership with Israel. Bharat cannot break the alliance with Israel–therefore it cannot stop the withering away of its friends in Tehran, Kabul and the Arab and Muslim world. This is a fundamental structural problem for Delhi’s diplomats. Their enigma is to build a relationship with Israel and its enemies. A tough chore. Tehran has sworn to wipe of Israel from the face of the earth. Israel wants to bomb Iran. Delhi’s relationship with Tel Aviv is seen with suspicion in Tehran and Riyadh.

The Pakistani factor also complicates matters for Delhi. In the 80s there was competition between Iran and Pakistan. Both the Iranians and Pakistanis seem to have learned from their experience. The tripartite agreement, consensus in Istanbul and London display optics that seem to signify congruence between the Pakistani and Iranian point of views on Afghanistan and other matters.

But many are inclined to view Tehran’s change of dates against the background of strained ties resulting from India’s votes in favour the IAEA’s censure of Iran for its nuclear programme. When India again voted in favour of the IAEA resolution last year, Mottaki had made his displeasure known to Krishna.

PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tehran has also not materialised, even though the two sides have had it on the agenda for more than a year. India has been hoping to forge a strong alliance with Iran over the Taliban issue, as Tehran has maintained it does not believe there is any “good” Taliban, and that Taliban groups should not be allowed any role in the Kabul government in the event of a reconciliation.

However, the one important difference between the positions of the two countries is that, unlike India, Iran wants NATO troops to withdraw immediately from Afghanistan. Snubbed S M Krishna drops Iran visit, Sachin Parashar, TNN, Mar 30, 2010, 03.52am IST

Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are on the same page on Afghanistan as evidenced in the tripartite agreement in Tehran, regional conference in Istanbul (which did not invite India) and the international conference in London (where India was given a 2nd row seat and ignored). China is now investing $2.2 to extend the Iran-Pakistan pipeline to China. Turkey is investing a multi-billion Dollar railway line from Islamabad to Istanbul via Tehran. A rial and road line is also being built to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan linking Pakistan to the birthplace of Babur.

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