Best Friends India-Israel Relations in Trouble Over Iranian Nuclear Deal?

Why are India-Israel Relations in Trouble over the Iranian Nuclear Deal? Why is Jerusalem disturbed over growing India-Iran Ties and Delhi’s backing for the Iranian Nuclear Deal? Will India be able to balance her relationship with arch enemies, Iran and Israel simultaneously, while keeping her interests intact?

India-Israel Relations In Doubt Over India’s Allegiance With Palestine, Iran

India is major defence partner of Israel and there are innumerable joint ventures between India and Israeli companies. Breaking all stereotypes, Indian PM Narendra Modi became the first ever Indian PM to visit Israel in July 2017 to bolster and acknowledge strong India-Israel relations. However, New Delhi also openly backed the Iranian Nuclear Deal, during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’ visit to India:

“India reaffirmed its support for full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which has been endorsed by the UN Security Council and is a crucial contribution to the non-proliferation framework and international peace, stability and security.”

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conversed with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British Prime Minister Theresa May over the Iranian Nuclear Deal. The Israel Prime Minister office stated that “he “discussed regional issues with the world leaders and also updated them on the vital material that he revealed regarding the Iranian nuclear archive.”

Netanyahu’s office said he “discussed regional issues with the world leaders and also updated them on the important material that he revealed regarding the Iranian nuclear archive.”

The backing of Iranian Nuclear Deal by India puts New Delhi in the same bracket along with France, Germany and the UK who are working hard to make the JCPOA deal work. India-Israel Relations under both BJP and Congress governments have been strong, but Indian backing of Iran Nuclear deal has somewhat put pressure on India-Israel Ties, claims experts.

Speaking during his London visit, Indian PM Modi reiterated his stance:

“I will go to Israel and I will even go to Palestine. I will cooperate with Saudi Arabia, and I will also engage with Iran”

India is the third biggest consumer of oil in the world, and imports oil from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. In 2017, Iraq was the largest oil supplier to India, followed by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Iran, which holds significant influence over Iraq, besides being the third largest oil supplier to India, is thus, a vital cog in Indian Oil-Diplomacy.

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India benefited from the Iranian Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) and instantly took advantage of it by agreeing on a “Rial-Rupee” agreement, which enables Indian organizations to invest directly in Iran, neglecting the dollar route. As per Indian experts, India-Israel Relations are extremely important for New Delhi, but India cannot ignore its core Interests which includes International Trade and Business.

Various critics claim that New Delhi’s interest in robust India-Iran Relations is more than just Indian oil and energy needs. They claim the real rationale behind India not backing away from the Iranian Nuclear Delhi is because Delhi sees Iran as a gateway to Central Asia which will augment India’s aspirations of becoming a superpower. Iran’s Chabahar port is a classic example of Indian interest which connects India to Afghanistan (bypassing Pakistan) through which it can reach Central Asia and the Eurasian region.

It appears that Indian pm Modi’s Diplomacy is very clear:

Oil from Iran and Saudi Arabia; Defence Technology from Israel; Fighter Jets from France and Russia; proximity with both U.S. and Russia; and trade with anyone and everyone

Jerusalem certainly is a little perturbed by growing India-Iran Relations but realizes very well that every country looks after its National and Business Interests. India is not going play a significant role in the Iranian Nuclear Deal, like France, Germany and the UK which Israel understands. India will continue to work with all nations including Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia to realize its ambition of becoming a major global power.

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