Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – Iran’s supreme leader’s newfangled remarks on Kashmir in his speech which he gave on the occasion of Eid has dismayed New Delhi which is trying to juggle Israel, United States and Iran at the same time. Khamenei who visited Kashmir in 1980 according to sources asserted that Kashmir like Yemen, Bahrain and Myanmar is an international issue and the killing of various Kashmiri people during the month of Ramadan has left him afflicted. Khamenei’s statement came right after India’s visit to USA and Israel. Is he really trying to show sympathy towards the Kashmiris or is it a political move to invite India’s attention?
India shares cultural ties with Iran (then Persia) dating back to the medieval era. During the cold war period, India-Iran ties didn’t advance much. The main problem was India’s support for the Soviets and Pahlavi’s affection towards America. After the 1979 revolution the bilateral relations between both the sates gained ground. India which was growing rapidly in the late 20th century needed oil and Iran fulfilled the necessity. Although India held talks with United States, it didn’t offended Iran much until now.
Iran is a vital trade partner of India. With more worth of goods being imported from Iran which comprise mainly oil and chemicals than being exported we have substantial trade deficit. India’s main exports to the Shiaite state consists of agro and allied products followed by metals products and chemicals. After the removal of trade sanctions on Iran early this year, the trade between both minutely went up.
In recent times, Iran and India came even closer after the project to build Chabahar port in Iran by India was sanctioned which would help to continue commerce with Afghanistan after Pakistan’s refusal to allow the Afghani goods to reach India via its land. Moreover Pakistan has become a headache for Iran following the tensions at their borders and the continued oppression of Shia in the terrorists sympathies nation has made Iran cross. PM Modi even visited Iran in May last year and a pile of useful agreements were signed by both the nations.
Khamenei’s remark on Kashmir doesn’t look like personal one as many analysts suggest being its timing. Iran’s “Great Satan”- The United States was visited by PM Modi and soon after that he went to the “Little Satan”- Israel. Iran being a Shiaite dominant state has little to do with Kashmir where mostly the Sunni population prevails. What Iran might be trying to convey to India through Kashmir is that it should not draw herself too much near to America and strings should be kept loose on the Israel front too. India on the other hand is risking Iran for the nuclear deals with America and technology and military assistance of Israel. Emergence of new sources of energy for India has limited its want for oil and hence Iran’s importance for her is on a downhill. The concern also lies in the construction of Chabahar port which is ‘snail paced’ combined with India’s ignorance might be the main reason for the leaders of Persia to be bothered.Observing the current scenario from Iran’s perspective, what could be a better way to draw India’s attention other than bringing in Kashmir which is India’s Achilles heel?
India should be vigilant about the her steps while the she induce in this tri-nation bargain. She should be conservative on the issues which interests all the three states. The recipe India’s trying to cook with these three countries should be executed minutely while playing with sauces likes Palestine and spices like Pakistan and Arab nations otherwise we’ll end up with an unappetizing hodgepodge.