New Delhi unlikely to scale down ties with Tehran

Though the blast on a car of the Israel Embassy may put pressure on India to review its relation with Iran, New Delhi is unlikely to scale down its traditional ties with Tehran or dilute its long-standing support to the cause of Palestine.

Though India promised Israel to conduct a full investigation into the incident in order to bring the culprits to justice, New Delhi is treading cautiously and declined to join Tel Aviv in jumping the gun and blaming Iran. “As far as we are concerned, we have an excellent relationship with Israel...and we would certainly like to keep that up; at the same time we have good relations with others also,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said on Tuesday.

Krishna’s remark was apparently intended to set at rest speculations about India reviewing its ties with Iran. Hours after the blast on Monday, Krishna had called up his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Liberman to assure him that New Delhi would ensure a full investigation into the incident and leave no stone unturned to book the perpetrators. Tel Aviv linked the explosion with an abortive bid to blow up the car of a Georgian driver of the Israel Embassy in Tbilisi on the same day and blamed Iran for both the incidents.

Iran rubbished the allegations. “Any terrorist attack is condemned and we strongly reject the untrue and irresponsible comments by an Israeli official; these accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like the previous times,” said Iranian Ambassador to India, Mehdi Nabizadeh.

The incident came when India is struggling to maintain the delicate balance in its traditional relation with Iran and long-standing commitment to the cause of Palestine with its growing ties with the US and Israel.

India in September 2011 ignored the frowns by the US and its allies in the West to support Palestine’s bid to get statehood recognition from the UN General Assembly. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also had a bilateral meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sideline of the UNGA to repair the bilateral ties, which were strained by New Delhi’s proximity with Washington during George Bush’s tenure as the US President and its votes against Tehran in the IAEA.

Though fresh sanctions from the US on Iran made it more difficult for India to pay for the crude oil it imports from the West Asian country, New Delhi and Tehran are exploring alternative modes of payment. India is also likely to scale up its investments in and exports to Iran.

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