In an effort to isolate Iran, the US has positioned India and Japan as its top strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region. The US reimposed sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and threatened allied nations with high levels of economic sanctions if they helped Iran attain nuclear weapons.
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This has complicated US relations with many countries, notedly with India and Japan. These countries don’t share an immense dislike for Tehran and haven’t severed their relations. In fact, sources have told Reuters that “Indian Oil Corp. will lift 6 million barrels of Iranian oil and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd 3 million barrels.”
More than Just an Oil-Importer
Following the 180-day waiver by the United States in early November, Iran will ship oil in lesser quantity to China, Japan, India and Turkey. According to Azernews, “Japan obtains 5 per cent of its imported oil from Iran while India is second only to China.”Moreover, India’s relation with Iran is beyond oil imports. The two nations are working on strategic projects such as the development of the Chabahar Port in the Arabian Sea. New Delhi is relying heavily on this project to throw off China’s influence in the region. Furthermore, there are talks about building an underwater pipeline; if this is actuated, then India will have easy access to Iran and Central Asia’s energy markets.
Meanwhile, seeing plus points in India and Japan as strategic partners, the US is trying to woo them, in an effort to contain China as well. And with Japan trying to court India too; as the youngest and fastest growing economy is projected to surpass China by 2028. But it has been observed that US-India-Japan have agreements and disagreements too.
Before the 2000s, India was far off US’s and Japan’s affairs. But over the years, India has worked hard and now stands out as a credible naval power with the potential to safeguard critical maritime space. And this has no doubt caught the attention of Washington and Tokyo. India will definitely continue to leverage itself through strategic coordination with its partners.