Cocking a snook : South Asia hosts Ahmadinejad

April 29, 2008

India, Pakistan and even tiny Sri Lanka have all ignored U.S. concerns, and have hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the past two days. It is a fleeting visit with less than five hours scheduled in Delhi, but it seems like a carefully calibrated piece of diplomacy tiptoeing around the elephant in the room.
For, as relations go, India and Pakistan have become bound up with the United States in ways that would have been unthinkable not very long ago. Islamabad is a frontline ally in Washington’s war on al Qaeda and the Taliban, India a growing strategic partner with whom it is pushing a far-reaching civilian nuclear deal that gives it de facto recognition as a nuclear state.


So what’s this dance with Iran, accused by the United States of sponsoring terrorism and seeking to develop nuclear weapons ? Some of it is down to economics : Iran holds the key to India’s energy  insecurity, as a piece in the Asia Times argues.

With oil prices skyrocketing, India’s thirst for cheaper imported gas has acquired a greater urgency than before and if this means jumpstarting the 15-year-old proposal to pipe gas from Iran through Pakistan, now estimated to cost $7.5 billion, so be it. Pakistan too needs the natural gas to meet its growing energy demand, as also the millions of dollars it will earn in transit fees.

And if history is any lesson, the “pipeline of peace” could promote security in the region with the costs of a conflict between India and Pakistan that much higher.

But is there also a desire to assert or rather be seen to be asserting independence of action in hosting Ahmadinejad at a time when tensions are rising again over its nuclear ambitions ?

Pakistan has a new civilian government which has pledged to pursue a more independent course, including in the fight against al Qaeda, than followed by President Pervez Musharraf.

India’s government is under pressure from its communist allies who think it has gone too far in seeking warmer ties with America and risks losing its independence of action. In any case, New Delhi has been acutely sensitive of being seen as anything other than a fiercely independent nation.  

What of Sri Lanka ? Perhaps the island has had enough of lectures on human right violations and veiled threats to hold back assistance if it continues to seek a military solution to the insurgency by Tamil Tiger rebels. Iran will probably abjure such admonitions.    


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It’s energy fool!!!!!!!! all the countries in world are trying to secure their share for future energy crisis. This was 15 year old proposal and due to conflict of interest between Pakistan and India and the price which Iran agreed for this gas has increased dramatically i don’t know what India is thinking for this deal, This new proposal from Iran will cause another reason for tension between two countries as we have seen Russian supply to Europe, With India’s corrupted communist politician who are not accepting U.S civilian Nuclear proposal then depending on these two muslims unreliable countries for their energy need will cost them badly in future could even be reason to go for another war India should be aware that this “pipeline of peace” could quickly turn in to “pipeline of war” with pakistan. SriLanka have recently found new oil and Iran wants to capitalize this small country with investing their oil money in refineries which will pay for their nuclear ambition for future.
India should also think about gas revenue Iran will generate by sale to India could be used against India in the form of Nuke and Pakistan may help Iran with nuclear technology as both are Muslim country.Instead of depending on unreliable governments of the world it would be wise for Indian corrupted politician to listen to their Prime Minister and approve of U.S nuclear deal instead of bringing ” pipeline of war” to destabilize the region.

Posted by Austin | Report as abusive

I had read that when anyone from any part of the world does a crime he or she is referred with a name as their identity while if anyone from middle east or any other part of the world does a crime and if he or she is of Muslim origin then the whole muslim community is blamed. For clarification i am not a Muslim.
2nd it has became the nature of USA to point out other countries for their own inadequacies. Oil is considered under National Security act in USA and it is now very clear that there are no Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq. I dont think they are capable of doing anything good to another country if they continue to be governed by fools and irrational morons and the think tank has got people who are very good at devising new strategies to suck out more money from their own country people.
I think that other countries should stand up for their own rights and ask USA and its task force to shut it. I feel the pipeline will be good for India. And pakistan hopes to gain millions in money through that pipeline and no government will be a fool to spoil something that is worthwhile. It might improve the existing relationship between india and pakistan too since the mad general has already been deposed. The two countries are filled with people who have been growing with a strong wariness against each other over the past 50 and odd years and yes it will take some more time. Once the people stop eying and individualizing a person based on their religion things will change. If the govt will start providing for the deprived things will change.
Another thing nuclear deal is a stupid thing and India is right is stalling it. Again a country which has got close to 10s of thousands of nuclear warheads does not want another country to be nuclear independent. Why don’t the USA do something about N.Korea. Gutless USA.
And Austin who do you think is Osama Bin Laden and why do you think he is so powerful. If you can answer that you will be convinced that US of America has been lying all along.

Posted by RUBEUS | Report as abusive

the decision of india to accept or to reject US nuclear proposal can be best judged by its own leaders…and further more the US nuclear deal is as much profitable to the US as it is to india, perhaps more to the US.
But oil and gas my friend is a necessity.u cant exchange food for candy..iranian oil has many buyers..if india will lack behind in securing this deal then it will be a great diplomatic failure.further china will reign in as it has already proposed. the US has already secured its energy requirements with the occupation of iraq. China has oilwells as far as venezuala..india has no choice but to spearhead with this pipeline.besides we are forgetting that iran is a shia country.

Posted by ravi | Report as abusive

Iran wants to establish itself as a regional power in the middle east. It has the natural and human resources to accomplish this. Pakistan, India and Srilanka recognize this and are utilizing this. The only drawback for India is that the pipeline has to come through Pakistan. Hope it has some sort of back up plan in case pakistan plans to cut off supplies ( it will definitely happen with Nawaz shariff in the mix). India will have nothing to fear from Iran. The reason US is harping about Iran is that it knows its power base in the middle east will be diluted with Iran being more powerful in the area. Utimately as the previous poster said its all about energy and the power it brings.

Posted by logical | Report as abusive

It’s sad that India’s foreign policy is now hostage to Uncle Sam.

I am not a fan of Ahmedinejad but since when did we let American concerns dictate who we can host and for how long?

Posted by Ajay Kamalakaran | Report as abusive

i think its dangerous for india to ally itself too much with iran. it is after all a fundamentalist muslim nation that is radical even relative to other muslim countries. india’s congress and communist politicians do not really care about india. the congress-communist alliance is perhaps the most corrupt in history. they are only interested in pocketing money from the pipeline deal. the communist party in west bengal for long has been doing its best to undermine india’s strategic interests in order to gain votes. as a result, communist west bengal is one of india’s most backwards states and is dragging the rest of india with it. and now the congress politicians are doing their best to undermine india’s interests as well so that they could buy maybachs from kickbacks. shame on manmohan singh and the ruling alliance.

Posted by david | Report as abusive

RUBEUS:- I know one thing that Osama bin ladan is not powerful he is Evil don’t blame US for lying if Osama was powerful he wouldn’t be hiding and why muslims think he is powerful because of their radical thinking to hate non muslims may be you are one of the Islamic fundamentalist thinking osama is powerful.
India can host anyone they want tell me why is Iran so concern for pipeline now after 15 years and why do Iran need nuclear energy to fulfill its energy need when they have more gas then oil they can rely on gas power plant for their energy no need to spend billions of dollar for nuclear energy.On the Other hand India have nuclear offer on table what anyone would prefers whats in hand then on the dream to bring “pipeline of war” to the region
India’s concern for pipeline is transit fees charged by pakistan and security issues in pakistan.Just think India and Pakistan can go to war over transit fees and Iran is looking just for that why now then 15 years ago iran wants to push this pipeline. Security is not one of pakistan top concern when they cannot control their own country if you’all know about the tribal region of pakistan which pakistan never had full control since their independence in 1947 how would pakistan assure that this pipeline will be secured by terrorist attack after costing billion dollars.
Gas cannot be replaced by nuclear but what is reliable for long term, gas still can be imported then depending on two most unstable and muslim partners in world.
Iran is Shia and their believe is 12th whoever prophet arrival is coming near so destroy all non muslims of the world with whatever resources they have and exploit other countrys need to acheive personal religious myths not to beleive in “PEACE” n “REALITY”.
Can anyone explain why Iran needs nuclear energy when it have abundant of gas it can sale to others, This should be prime reason not to host evil intentioned Iranian president by any country of this peaceful world.

Posted by Austin | Report as abusive

The main point is that Pakistan and India have a serious problem concerning declining energy resources. India, especially, will see its oil fuel bills increase dramatically as prosperity leads to many more vehicles on the road. Both countries experience economically damaging (and socially depressing) power outages.

Iran is an obvious source. It is gross impertinence on the part of Washington to attempt to exert pressure on India and Pakistan simply because Iran is detested by the US administration. The cockamamie nuclear pact with India proposed by Washington was a half-baked attempt to stop Delhi’s energy involvement with Tehran. It never had a chance of success, but the ploy does demonstrate how far the present US administration will go in its campaign to destroy Iran.

Posted by beecee | Report as abusive

India and Iran had good relations since pre cold war era. US is not pressuring India on nuclear deal if you fully bake your information India don’t have to NPT and IAEA will not supervise any old nuclear plants in india on this deal and can keep nuclear arms without reporting. what makes you think this is half baked deal while ignoring india’s corrupt communist politician.
Iran’s intention are clear if they wanted this pipeline they could have done this 15 years ago. Why this deal didn’t go through was Iran charges for gas and transit fees by pakistan will cost india same as importing it by sea.
Iran is destructive power here not US of America, Iran is trying to destablize not only middle east from hezbullahs in lebanon, hamas in palestine to mahdi in Iraq now they are about exploit energy needs of south asia and invest that money on their own nuclear ambitions which iranian president had said will use nukes against isreal.
why should US not destroy Iran when Iran have made their intention clear that they want destructions.

Posted by Austin | Report as abusive

america should stay out of this they have poisoned the world enough just do the human race a favour and die united states of america

Posted by HINDU | Report as abusive