How Imran Khan and Donald Trump ruined Iran-India relations for good

Published: April 27, 2019
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This might even interestingly be a tangential outcome of their recent diplomatic cooperation in Afghanistan.

Iran-India relations might be about to enter their worst-ever period in modern history, as a result of two very important and uncoordinated moves undertaken at almost the exact same time by the American and Pakistani leaders.

Prime Minister Imran Khan just paid his first visit to Iran, where he and his hosts announced that they will enter into a new era of anti-terrorist cooperation. Geopolitical analyst Adam Garrie comprehensively analysed this in his recent piece on this breaking news event.

The ball was indeed in Iran’s court to stop India’s anti-Pakistani Baloch terrorism, like I wrote the other day. To Tehran’s credit, its leadership finally understood this and decided to expand its military partnership with the global pivot state of Pakistan.

This will greatly complicate India’s hybrid war capabilities in clandestinely using Iranian territory to carry out terrorist attacks against Pakistan by proxy, as it obsessively seeks to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This means that PM Imran’s visit will have far-reaching and long-term geostrategic security consequences in the New Cold War.

In parallel with this, Donald Trump decided that the US won’t renew its Iranian oil sanctions waivers. It also decided that Washington’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners – namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE – will help the Islamic Republic’s energy customers replace their imports with Gulf resources instead.

India was very vocal last year about its intent to defy the US’ unilateral sanctions against Iran, but as I wrote in my piece at the time about the “Indian illusion,” all of this was just rhetoric to hide the fact that New Delhi was quietly implementing its new American patron’s will.

Trump just put Narendra Modi on the spot, however, and it might augur negatively for the Indian leader during the ongoing month-long electoral process if he publicly capitulates to the US’ demands and replaces Iranian resources with Gulf ones, as I suspected he’s been planning to do since late last year, after his summit in Argentina with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

As such, this American move might also be yet another “bad cop” tactic against Modi to get more strategic concessions out of India.

It therefore wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Trump and Imran might have just ruined Iranian-Indian relations for good, when considering the combined effect of their latest moves to that relationship.

The Pakistani leader exposed India’s hybrid war terrorist plot during his talks with the Iranian leadership, which probably explains why the two neighbouring nations decided to take their military cooperation with one another to the next level. Meanwhile, the American leader is forcing India to stop importing Iranian oil under the threat of potentially crippling “secondary sanctions,” and to replace its resources with those from the Islamic Republic’s hated GCC foes.

Although Iran and India still have shared strategic interests in the Chabahar Corridor and the North-South Transport Corridor, the trust that formerly defined their relations has been broken and their ties will never be the same.

The end result is beneficial to the US and Pakistan for different reasons, and might even interestingly be a tangential outcome of their recent diplomatic cooperation in Afghanistan.

This post originally appeared here

Andrew Korybko

Andrew Korybko

The author is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He tweets at @AKorybko (twitter.com/akorybko?lang=en)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.