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Israel threatens India-Iran oil trade

My post yesterday “Once a bully, always a bully” on the American pressure tactic to stifle India-Iran oil trade needs updating already. The state of play, as they say, has radically changed overnight. Israel has now jumped into the fray. The US-Israeli axis to pressure India is a legion among informed circles in Delhi and it is as ancient as the hills, but it seldom surfaces so blatantly. Israelis are meant to be smart cookies, who generally operate from the sub-soil in the dark so that they don’t get the flak. But here they are making a rare exception. And, it shows this is a big ticket item. 

Anyway, Israelis have launched a blistering tirade against the Indian-Iranian arrangement to transfer payments for oil trade via the German bank EIH. Jerusalem Post and a Jewish-American website Ynetnews have picked up the story. Well, well, the lengthy New York Times dispatch which I quoted yesterday was after all a genuine ‘foreplay’ intended to kickstart a nasty controversy at the political and diplomatic level and get Berlin to fall in line to close down EIH and thereby derail the newfound Indian-Iranian oil trade payment mechanism. Israel knows that Germany is extremely sensitive about the temper tantrums of the Jewish lobby – a guilt complex dating back to the Holocaust. (Read Gunter Grass novels?) The Israeli calculation is obviously to embarrass the German government and to force it take action on political grounds against EIH even if there is no case legally for doing so. 
The Jewish website Ynetnews carries a piece by a former US Treasury Department official, which directly criticises India for buying oil from Iran when “there are many other sources around the globe”. <www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4050554,00.html> It does seem some oil major is salivating! India-Iran oil trade is currently worth over 12 billion dollars annually. No small amount, isn’t it? 
Jerusalem Post quotes Israeli officials and hints that PM Benjamin Netanyahu and FM Avigdor Lieberman may take up the matter with German leadership during their forthcoming consultations in Berlin. Israelis are like locusts, they won’t easily let go the field till they have thoroughly ransacked – in this case, until India and Iran are read the riot act. Quite clearly, Washington and Tel Aviv are working in tandem with an agenda to finish off even the residual India-Iran bilateral ties that survived the historic US-India nuclear deal of 2008. 
The way out for the UPA government will be to accept the suggestion by Iran to have a bilateral arrangement. Initially, Tehran showed willingness to accept payments for oil exports to India in Indian Rupee.  But Indian side apparently didn’t warm up to the idea. There seems to be no alternative – that is, if the Indian government has the political will to withstand the US-Israeli pressure tactic and to tell Washington and Tel Aviv to back off. Of course, that is a big ‘If’. If the WikiLeaks are anything to go by, US and Israel have probably made their homework in this case and concluded that it ultimately pays to pressure Delhi.       

Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.

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11 Responses

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  1. mehdi mulla says

    Agreed 100% with Manu as he says it is all the worlds no 1 problem creator if Israel thinks he can boast around with the support of the WorldCop aka America so wait the days are coming to over when the sun sets on the Numero uno, all the balance of power will shift to Asia. at this time even the world’s power will shift to Asia (India

  2. tick says

    Germany,it seems has refused to transfer Indian payment to Iran. This is a true test for MMS government. This needs to be seen as a grave risk to pursuing its foreign policy options by India.

    The sensible first option would be to find an alternate route to execute the payment. If that proves difficult, a paradigm change in economic security and strategic security needs to be debated for long term needs. Primacy to near abroad policies is the only sensible way to pursue peace and economic growth.

    If Indian payments to another nation can be constrained in pursuit of their policies, it is most likely that India policy behavior will totally controlled by leveraging dependencies on strategic supplies. This demonstrated absence of trust relationship can not be taken lightly.

    In this test of will for implementing non-alignment policy framework and our policy of Near Abroad, hopefully our leaders of all hues entrusted with the responsibility shall come out with flying colours and be able to absorb short term losses and short term constriction of growth.

  3. piri says

    Mr. Bhadrakumar’s article is one more revealation in a long series of give-aways that have surfaced with increasing regularity in recent times that establish what dispassionate and objective observers of India’s foreign policies have always known – that the Indian administration is bound head, trunk and limbs in yards of jungle vine in subservience to the commercial and political interests of the US !!

    For a long time now, India’s much touted ‘economic reforms’ have not been cloaked in any veneer of ‘national interest’ as they used to be in the early 1990s. Now, they come with no bones made about the underlying purpose; which is simply to reduce the Indian economy to the status of a captive market for western corporates. For this purpose, no stone is left unturned, no opposition (democratic or otherwise) is ever brooked, no economic compulsion (even as compelling as India’s pathetic position vis-a-vis trade balance owing to the spiralling price of crude oil) is allowed to ‘temper’ decisions needed to be made to facilitate western trade interests in India and no limit is placed on the amount of double speak that comes out of India’s managers of the economy such as the Planning commission, Ministries of commerce or finance, Chambers of commerce, govt. managed ‘think-tanks’ or the many-splendoured arms of the Indian corporate media !

  4. xsahmad says

    Nuk is no more a clean source of energy as per tha Japans best management failed to control radiation hazard after tsunami. However Nuk disaster can be a boon to politician in India coz it can give a mudda for them like bhopal gas tragedy . For Israel or US they can earns million and billions for centuries on the name of rescue plans and medical and waste management after any nuk disaster in India.

  5. tick says

    The widespread and deep admiration for Israel amongst Indian educated is due to a great number of scientists, writers, artists and political thinkers amongst Jews. There is an aura of excellence when it comes to Indian perception of Jews and the Jewish state. The Holocaust sympathy widely prevalent in US and Europe is not a striking perception for most Indians. But their ability to hold, despite being a minuscule nation against far larger hordes does add to the admiration.

    But despite this considerable pro-Israeli sentiments, if forced to make an either-or choice Indian democracy would most likely opt for Iran. And from Indian perspective both ties could co-exist and at an opportune time in future could converge for a win-win-win situation.

    Israel was once seen as a gateway to better ties with US, but thereafter Indo-US ties have also evolved considerably, are now robust enough to stand on their own right, sans Israel or even despite its effort to hurt it. TV anchors may love calling US as a Judeo-Christian culture, but the fact remains that Indian linkages via colonial institutions, English language, democracy have acquired considerable bandwidth, which also remains a great source of strength and stability to Israel. A section which motivates the tirade are doing a great long term disservice to themselves and Israel as well.

    The ascendancy of US came about when the Roman and Greek cultural impact was felt by the young nation, which led to secular ethos buttressed by Constitutional separation of Religion from the State. The vast intellectual space opened up by the infusion of the sensibilities of the ancient led to unprecedented technological revolution. Jewish thought had no or minimal impact on this great trend. The post-war migration of Jews to US and their vantage hold, particularly in financial sector gives them an unprecedented leverage on US policy but even these are not enough to constrict Indian volition in policy making.

    If there is illogical and undue pressure, it would only force recalibrating the engagement with US economy and steer Indian policy making away from any long term strategic dependence. India would surely be able to safeguard itself, but Israel could be hopelessly exposed.

  6. navi_reyd says

    Why does the Indian Government have to buy oil from evil countries like Iran which have no respect for the human rights of its people? Most Indians know that military hardware from Iran are being found in the hands of Islamic militants fighting the Indian army in Kashmir.

  7. MOGU ENGINEERS says

    don’y know why India comed under pressure too early? If Iran is willing to accept Indian Rupee than we shld directly pay them in Indian Rupee.We shldn’t route the payments through Europeans banks and increase the price of Oil. Or they should clearly tell wetern coutries to arrange equal amount of Oil from other sources at the same terms and conditions that we are getting and give India the guarantee of enregy security.

    - Rajiv Gupta

  8. Manu N says

    Such a shame! A country as big as India and biggest democracy has been so damn weak to be scared off by a tiny war monger Israel. Israel has been the cause of biggest problem in half of the world. Unfortunate for Israel and US, citizen of the world do not feel Iran to be any kind of threat to anyone. It has never been. But the real threat is Israel and US.

    India has been ruined by her politicians. India should not back off from the trade with Iran as there is nothing wrong in doing so. Morally , ethically or culturally. Israel back off!

  9. commie basher says

    if washington is the capital of US, and NewDelhi capital of India, what is Tel Aviv ?

    The capital of Israel is NOT TelAviv. its Jerusalem.

  10. P A DESHPANDE says

    I think Israel has no business to either intervene or even to comment on the issue. It must understand that India is a much more reliable partner for them than the US and history has it written on the wall that US has always dumped their so called reliable friends when in trouble. Hosni Mubarak is the latest example of this. On the other hand India is Israel’s biggest defence customer and it must think a thousand times before making any unwarranted analysis of the Indo-Iran pipeline or any such issue. India believes in coordial relations with all countries and the brightest example is the recent Indo-Pak cricket match for which the Pak PM was invited in the face of worst terrorist attacks including 26/11 Mumbai. Remember violence breeds violence and hatred breeds hatred. Israel must make the choice what it wants in its relation with India. Unnecessary and skewed analyses of situations to please US is surely not the way forward.

  11. Manu N says

    Such a shame! A country as big as India and biggest democracy has been so damn weak to be scared off by a tiny war monger Israel. Israel has been the cause of biggest problem in half of the world. Unfortunate for Israel and US, citizen of the world do not feel Iran to be any kind of threat to anyone. It has never been. But the real threat is Israel and US.

    India has been ruined by her politicians. India should not back off from the trade with Iran as there is nothing wrong in doing so. Morally , ethically or culturally. Israel back off!

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