The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

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Singularly depressing choices generally between letting your girlfriend die or seeing the world engulfed in flames may not send a cult superhero into a cold sweat but they can easily be considered avoidable. The superhero for his part has the consolation that by the time the credits start rolling in, the girlfriend would be in his arms and the world free of doomsday plotting villains (at least for the time being). Unfortunately, India caught up in a similarly precarious situation has no such assured ending to fall back on.

With an ever increasing energy demand, managing oil imports has become the first priority for India. Around 13% of these imports come from Iran. Under such circumstances, one can forgive India for wishing that Iran had not courted the wrath of India’s long time ally, Israel and the almighty West. But that is exactly what Iran has done by refusing to cut back on its ambition of becoming a nuclear capable state.

Recent events have only made matters worse. Iran has publicly expressed delight on the progress of its nuclear programs. If that wasn’t enough, a terror attack on an Israeli diplomat’s wife in India has conveniently been linked to Iran by the ever so enterprising Israel. All this has left India ropewalking an increasingly thinning rope with no safety net what so ever.

Up until now India has successfully managed to continue importing Iranian oil despite the increasing number of sanctions against the same. According to the latest Indo-Iranian deal, Iran is willing to accept 45% of the payment for oil in rupees. This will further strengthen trade ties between the two countries. Iran will probably use the acquired rupees on Indian goods.

USA and Europe have already placed an embargo on Iranian oil and NATO is continually encouraging other allies to follow suit. This, along with India’s professed commitment to the Non Proliferation Treaty, has politically obligated India to support NATO in its endeavours. Economically and practically, India cannot do without Iranian oil.

India has been at its non committal best on the issue and this for once seems to be the right policy to follow. It will be fool hardy now to cut off trade relations with Iran and equally suicidal to extend support to its operations. It therefore seems best to play the waiting game and while we are at it, we better send out the oil scouts. And ask them to hurry up.


[email protected];Fact is, writing about myself has to be the single most harrowing thing I’ve ever done. Considering I’m the Editor that particular fact would elicit a bigger ‘tsk tsk’ than expected, yes, yes, it is ignominious and all that jazz. If I were to venture out and say I’m smart, it would make me arrogant. If I were to say I’m dumb, I’d be a downright liar. So, the only thing I can say without trepidation and the fear of God(or whatever entity it is that’s doing the rounds these days) is probably that I’m a third year Economics student at Sri Venkateswara College.

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