How India Could Benefit From the Iran Nuclear Deal

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How India Could Benefit From the Iran Nuclear Deal

How India Could Benefit From the Iran Nuclear Deal

By Brian Katulis, Chairman of the NSN Board of Directors
July 24, 2015 | WSJ

The Obama administration took an important step to advance America’s security in completing the comprehensive joint plan of action, or CJPoA. The deal negotiated in Vienna represents the best of the available options for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. It avoids both the hazards and uncertainties of military action, and provides a strong international framework for stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

If the Iran nuclear deal moves forward without major hitches, India could be one of the few countries to have deepening relations with countries strongly at odds with one another. The evolving geopolitics of the broader Middle East (known to Indians as “West Asia”) could boost India’s regional standing. While Washington gears up for weeks of debate over the accord, Indians are hoping the agreement can advance their country’s energy and trade interests and lead to greater regional integration.

India has working relationships with Iran, Israel, and key Gulf Cooperation Council countries–and is looking to strengthen all of those ties. Government officials, foreign policy analysts, and journalists in New Delhi told me in discussions this week about Indians’ broad support for the deal and how it might affect relations with neighbors. India has long historical and economic links with Iran. Israel has become one of India’s leading military weapons suppliers. Those bilateral ties have become closer, with India recently abstaining from a U.N. Human Rights Council vote over a resolution on Palestine and Israel publicly thanking India for the diplomatic support. Meanwhile, millions of Indians live and work in GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia that are skeptical of Iran’s regional aspirations.

The more proactive foreign policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ties into all this. Some of his government’s efforts to engage a range of countries around the world are driven by India’s long-standing rivalries with China and Pakistan. But India is also taking steps to clarify a strategy that is less reactive to those rivals and driven more by seizing opportunities to redefine its role in the broader region.

Brian Katulis is a Senior Fellow at American Progress, where his work focuses on U.S. national security policy in the Middle East and South Asia.

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Photo Credit: Secretary Kerry Addresses Reporters During News Conference With Indian Minister of External Affairs Swaraj Following Strategic Dialogue [U.S. Department of State,  07/31/2014]

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