The Indian establishment’s nerves didn’t give way on Iran after two major assaults this week. There have been hardly any worthwhile takers in Delhi — except the famous Friends of Israel brigade in our media — for the smear campaign that Tehran’s agents are scurrying around the world pasting plastic bombs on Israeli diplomats. One thoughtful Indian daily even wondered if the Israelis aren’t doing this to themselves in a supreme act of theatrics, which intelligence agencies all over undertake in certain situations. (Which by no means can be ruled out, since as Home Minister P Chidambaram said, these are ’sophisticated’ devices.)
Second, Delhi has correctly sized up the import of Iran’s latest announcement on its nuclear ‘achievements’ — developing a new generation of centrifuges, augmenting the capacity from 6000 to 9000 centrifuges and loading the Tehran research reactor with domestically-produced fuel. Simply put, these are diplomatic foreplays even as talks are scheduled to begin
between Iran and the so-called ‘5+1′.
What is striking is the Indian sources telling Bloomberg UTV that these histrionics relating to Iran would in no way affect its crude oil imports from Iran — in essence, that “Indian position on Iran remains unchanged and no directives have been given to [Indian] oil companies to diversify crude sourcing. And a sanction can create a chain reaction that will severely impact the oil marketing companies (OMCs) and the refining space.”
The fact of the matter is that Brent crude remained above 120 dollars in Singapore today in the light of persistent supply worries
. And this, despite Tehran clarifying that is not enforcing an embargo of its own on European buyers — at least, not as yet. Something like 70 refineries in Europe may have to be shut down if they can’t find alternate sources for Iran’s ’sweet’ crude.
Delhi would also factor in that the US-Iran standoff has always been surreal. Amidst the cacophony in the media, all indications are that the Barack Obama administration is not interested in a military encounter with Iran. The US officials have been consistently dousing the enthusiasm of hardliners on this score, the latest being the testimonies by two key officials
at the hearings of the US Armed Forces Committee in Washington on Thursday.
Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.
– February 17, 2012