Pepe Escobar: Why India Is Ignoring US Sanctions And Sticking With Iran

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

It's not just about oil – there's a complex interconnection of geopolitics and geoeconomics between the two countries...

Pay very close attention to what India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier this week in New Delhi:

“Our foreign policy is not made under pressure from other countries ... We recognize UN sanctions and not country-specific sanctions. We didn’t follow US sanctions on previous occasions either.”

After fellow BRICS members China and Russia, India left no margin for doubt. And there’s more; India will continue to buy oil from Iran – its third top supplier – and is willing to pay in rupees via state bank UCO, which is not exposed to the US. India bought 114% more oil from Iran during the financial year up to March 2018 than in the previous term.

India-US trade amounts to $115 billion a year. In comparison, India-Iran trade is only $13 billion a year. India may grow an impressive 7% in 2018 and has reached a GDP of $2.6 trillion, according to the IMF, ahead of France, Italy, Brazil and Russia. To keep growing, India badly needs energy.

So for New Delhi, buying Iranian energy is a matter of national security. Couple it with the obsession in bypassing Pakistan, and it’s clear this is all about a complex interconnection of geopolitics and geoeconomics.

The comprehensive India and Iran partnership revolves around energy, trade and investment connectivity corridors, banking, insurance, shipping and – crucially – the imminent possibility of doing everything using the rupee and the rial, bypassing the US dollar.

India-Iran already trade in euros – so that is step one in bypassing the long arm of the US Department of the Treasury. Both nations are still using SWIFT. Assuming the EU does not give in to the unilateral US violation of the Iranian nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, India’s oil imports won’t be sanctioned.

If that’s the case, step two will be turbo-charging the already booming trade in rupees and rials to the energy front – facilitated by the fact Tehran has invested in upgrading and perfecting insurance for its fleet of tankers.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) energy strategy, unsurprisingly, needs to cover all fronts; solar, wind, oil and gas. Not only is Iran central to the strategy; Central Asia also features heavily, with New Delhi eagerly expecting to import oil and gas from Turkmenistan, certainly transiting via Iran and Kazakhstan.

New Delhi, by all means, needs plenty of access to natural gas from South Pars, the largest gas fields on the planet; either via the still ongoing Pipelineistan soap opera IPI (the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline) or, more plausibly, an underwater pipeline from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean.

Enter the Indo-Pacific Command

Also not surprisingly, the Holy Grail for India is Iran-related: the so far $500 million investment in Chabahar port in the Indian Ocean, as well as completing the Chabahar-Zahedan railway.

Chabahar is the starting point of the Indian version of the New Silk Roads, linking India to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

For Indian trade, a straight sea lane to Iran and then overland to Central Asia, including direct access to the mineral wealth of Afghanistan, is absolutely invaluable. A trilateral memorandum of understanding signed two years ago committed $21 billion: $9 billion for the whole Chabahar project and the rest for developing Afghan iron ore.

If Iran, for Beijing, is a solid hub in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and an essential plank in the Eurasia integration project, Tehran is simultaneously courted by New Delhi as a counterpunch to one of BRI’s standout projects, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

So it’s no wonder that the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi continuously raves about the India-Afghanistan-Iran connectivity corridor, “from culture to commerce, from traditions to technology, from investments to IT, from services to strategy and from people to politics,” in the words of Swaraj.

Washington’s counterpunch so far has been to rename PACOM – the Pacific Command, which includes India, China, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, Australia, Antarctica, in fact, the entire Pacific Ocean – as the “Indo-Pacific Command,” thus flattering New Delhi. Most of all, the move aligns with the Indo-Pacific strategy deployed by the Quad – US, India, Japan, Australia – which is a barely disguised containment of the China follow-up mechanism to the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia.

It’s still unclear how the Trump administration might “punish” New Delhi for non-stop trading with Tehran. In the case of Russia – also under sanctions – pressure is relentless. India has been encouraged not to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia. The excuse is not exactly subtle; that would “complicate interoperability” with US forces and “limit … the degree with which the United States will feel comfortable in bringing additional technology” into India, according to House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas). New Delhi will announce its decision in October.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China, on June 9, will be the privileged arena to discuss all these issues. Russia, China, India and Pakistan, as full members, will be there, as well as Iran and Afghanistan as current observers and, inevitably, future members. It’s clear that fellow SCO/BRICS members China, Russia and India will refuse to isolate Iran. And there’s nothing the Indo-Pacific Command can do about it.


Oh regional Indian bobcatz Mon, 06/04/2018 - 03:45 Permalink

Silly wabbit.

India does what india's told to do. We have an israeli puppet prime moronister. 

India is being ground up between the Ruski/China and Us/Jizzrahell axis. 

India is the wold's largest buyer of global arms after WWII. That right there is a tell of monumental proportions.

Along this path, this country has a very dim future. close to a thousand years it's taken the judeo-christian establishment to finally ruin one of the founding cultures of this reality as we know it. 

I hope the payback will be massive and crushing to the perpetrators.

Meanshile, my own contribution to whirled peas... musically of course...

In reply to by bobcatz

Yuri Bezmenov InsaneBane Mon, 06/04/2018 - 08:14 Permalink

I completely agree, sophisiticated civilizations came from the ancient (middle) east for example Sumeria, Mesopotamia etc. the same regions that have be bombed back to the stoneages by NATO. So don't be surpised they seek alliances..the Brezinski doctrine (control of Eurasia) has failed. All we have left is to blame Russia..

In reply to by InsaneBane

Jeffersonian Liberal Oh regional Indian Mon, 06/04/2018 - 07:29 Permalink

Any fool that ever thought India was or is an ally of the US should have known what a lie that was by the fact that India proudly proclaimed itself a member of the BRICS alliance (the BR and C being actively aligned against the US) and seeking to destroy the reserve-currency status of the USD.

Fuck India.

And now that you've destroyed your own country, don't bring your castist, racist, collectivist, socialist bullshit to the US.

In reply to by Oh regional Indian

sonoftx Buster Cherry Sun, 06/03/2018 - 23:29 Permalink

Indians are naturally attracted to "Show me the money!!!" 

I have a good friend, he happens to be Hispanic, he works for an Indian(dot). A couple of years ago he told me, "An Indian is just a Jew with brown skin." That was pretty funny.

Forgive me if I have stated this before or if this is an old and tired joke. I am gettting old and the memory is not what it used to be. 

In reply to by Buster Cherry

besnook Sun, 06/03/2018 - 23:14 Permalink

i think iran should be sacrificed to expedite the end of the zionazi empire. the world will rejoice and shower the iranians with gold.

Usura truthalwayswinsout Mon, 06/04/2018 - 00:11 Permalink

Not a chance.  Pakistan is majority Sunni.  But Shias are about 20%, enough for an effective destabilizing insurgency.…

Recently, the Iran Pakistan border has been relatively quite.  And China is building a port nearby at Gwadar on the Pakistan side.

Here is a fantastic map of the various religious divides in the region:…

In reply to by truthalwayswinsout

Cosmic Energy Sun, 06/03/2018 - 23:35 Permalink

The solution is to denuclearize IsraHell. The only country with illegal nukes and the biggest threat not only to the Middle East but to the world. Sanction IsraHell for their nukes, their apartheid state and their crimes against humanity.

But I know the Zionists are the owner of the media, music industry, Hollywood and the monetary system, and have the corrupt western politicians in their pockets.

A new monetary system is needed and in work already, the media is falling and the politicians are loosing the backing of their own people. Let's hope that IsraHell is not starting WW3 with the help of their puppets in Washington and London.

Norfry Sun, 06/03/2018 - 23:41 Permalink

Sanctions are potentially extremely harmful, ie. economic warfare. For example, for Israeli-targetted Iraq, US sanctions were as lethal as the US hellfire missiles etc.

So what exactly is Iran's 'sin'? Why is it being sanctioned again? Oh, they've developed defensive armaments. That's terrible. Haven't attacked anyone; haven't developed nuclear weapons like the rabid folks in Britain, France, US and Israel have; refuse to kowtow to the US and Israel and City of London. Very very bad.

More and more countries are rolling their eyes at the crazy USA and its ((rulers)).

The previously fearful mad dog USA is barking sanctions more and more like a senile spent force.

It's coming: the US announces that they are sanctioning everyone and no one shows up.

WTFUD Mon, 06/04/2018 - 00:01 Permalink

If Iran would just do business with Israel & the US, these sanctions would disappear . . . . . 'just like that', (as the late great comedian, Tommy Cooper, would say ) . . . . but hell no they won't do business with these 2 fucking Parasites who've engaged in untold dirty tricks to screw them over.

Got to admire Iran's resolve though, unlike the rest of the vassal political scum who've shit-in-their-pantyhose and succumbed to the Evil Banking Overlords. 


Zhaupka Mon, 06/04/2018 - 00:23 Permalink

PSYOPS. Meme. Propaganda. Cognitive Dissonance.

Tomorrow, as you read, 242 People from India have exited a Jet Airline with a Full Time United States Job paying $100,000 USD per year in their pocket.

Many Foreign Workers already have United States National Security Clearances that many in the United States Presidents own group who were born in the United States are forbidden to possess.

People from India receive 3 week's vacation to start, 3 weeks personal time off up to 6 months or more, full medical, dental, vision benefits, improved ignition retirement benefits, work 9 to 4 or 5 with one hour leisurely lunch.

All must have employment provided by United States Corporations who train them on-the-job in lieu of United States Citizens.

A decade later, this year, 2.4 million from India shall receive Full United States Federal Government Social Security Benefits for themselves and all family members.

desertboy Mon, 06/04/2018 - 00:49 Permalink

India, mostly in Bombay (Mumbai), has a very large population of the ancient Persian bloodline,  the Zorastrians -- great people, actually.  So it goes deeper than trade deals.

Ghost who Walks Mon, 06/04/2018 - 02:29 Permalink

I've read this story and I've come away with a different angle to those in the comments above.

The discussions about which religious sects or cultures support each other or don't, miss the key point.

The key point is "energy security" and the development of India.

Taking a standard economic technique and assuming that India was the recipient of a new technology that could generate low cost electrical power in India, with no imports and no limits to growth, how long would it take before the Indian economy was bigger than the US?

What would happen at that point, to the movement of smart Indian professionals?

Would they move back to India to take advantage of the growth opportunities?

At what point does the relationship between India and the US change?

The real story is not how the US is trying to limit Indian Strategic options, the real story is what happens when American politicians suddenly realise that they can't limit Indian strategic options with the influence that they currently have, and then consider what the future holds?

At some point the UK realised that it no longer called the shots in the middle east (probably around the time of the Suez crisis).

That loss of British influence curtailed British options.

The continual exercise of American sanctions is only "training enemies", and they will construct alternative pathways to conduct business which excludes America. These actions seem to confirm the old saying "The flak is always heaviest over the target"

I've yet to see a logical reason for India to avoid doing business with Iran.

I've also yet to see a logical reason for America to continue to harass the Iranians. 

The reality is that in a world where Capital is looking for growth opportunities, US Politicians are busily restricting future access to the Indian market for American businesses, by interfering with legitimate Indian energy security concerns, and for what purpose?

rtb61 Mon, 06/04/2018 - 02:36 Permalink

Indian and Pakistan are just finally waking up to the reality, that the only reason they where split and they way they were split, was to generate conflict, done on purpose to kill as many of them as possible by the British Monarchy as punishment for them rejecting the British Monarchy. That they are still going at it decades latter shames them, make them looking gullible and foolish, killing each other to feed the psychopathic ego of the British Monarchy which the rest of the west did nothing to block or try to resolve peacefully.

India owes nothing but millions of dead to the west. Why would they favour local countries over USA and the UK and even the EU because they are not completely fucking stupid and they owe the USA and UK nothing, well, not quite, the owe the UK a whole lot of pain and suffering, the US probably indifference but they also worked to fuel the India Pakistan conflict, keep India week (were would they be now if they had remained united, something the UK or the US could not tolerate and hence, the conflict created on purpose).

Reality is partnering with the US in anything is a trap and lie, cheat, steal and kill, it just how Americans deal, well, those at the top, simply can not be trusted and word and keeping it, well, that's just four letters who cares.

PrayingMantis SmittyinLA Mon, 06/04/2018 - 07:34 Permalink


   ... “ ... The F35 suck ... “ ...


... this would be some of the reasons why that F35 MIC blunder wouldn’t sell ... source :  >>> 


     ... “ ...  It's been a while since we checked in with our old friend, the F-35 strike fighter, a.k.a. The Flying Swiss Army Knife, a.k.a. The Winged Lemon of Death. The price tag for this unspooling disaster is headed north of $400 billion with no end in sight. In our latest episode, according to CNN, the airplane apparently tried to asphyxiate its pilots.

The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona suspended all F-35A flights last week after the five pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms, Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in a statement. The pilots all used their backup oxygen to land the planes safely. The Air Force had expected to liftthe grounding measure over the weekend, but said Monday that flight operations will remain on hold until a coordinated analysis of the problem is complete. An updated timetable to resume flights was not provided, with the Air Force saying only "we will take as much time as necessary" to ensure pilot safety.

The customary summary follows.

The Luke F-35 grounding is the latest setback for the $400 billion F-35 program, a long delayed and over-budget weapons system that's become the Pentagon's most expensive in history. The Air Force grounded 10 of its F-35 fighters last year due to insulation problems, and last month the Air Force announced it had resolved an ejection seat issue that had led to a weight restriction being imposed on pilots.

In the F-35's defense, when last we checked in, its ejector mechanism was decapitating the dummy pilots used to test it, so the plane apparently has found a tidier way of killing the people trying to fly it. Things are looking up! ... “ ...


In reply to by SmittyinLA

chippers Mon, 06/04/2018 - 06:41 Permalink

When is Trumpstein actually going to do something for muricans and cancel the H1-B visa program and kick all those curry monkeys out.  Trumpberg should also kick out those curry monkeys on all the other visas,  including citizen visa,  they don't deserve it.

Golden Phoenix Mon, 06/04/2018 - 13:46 Permalink

In retaliation Trump puts a tariff on Indian tech support scams.

Don't blame Trump - he tried to negotiate but the Indians kept breaking out in a song and dance number every five minutes.