US: Watching India-Iran ties ‘very closely’

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said the US is "watching very closely" India's relationship with Iran.

By: PTI | Washington | Updated: May 25, 2016 5:10 pm
india iran relations, modi in iran, Iran India, India Iran, india and iran tie up, us on india iran relations Tehran: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspects a guard of honour at Mehrabad airport in Tehran on his two-day visit in Iran. PTI Photo by Shahbaz Khan 

The US is “watching very closely” India’s growing ties with Iran after it recently pledged USD 500 million for developing the Chabahar port and will see if its legal parameters and requirements are being met, the Obama Administration has told lawmakers.

As of now, there is no military or counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries that could be a cause of concern for the US, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing.

She said the US is “watching very closely” India’s relationship with Iran.

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“We also track very closely what their economic engagement is and make sure they understand what we believe are legal parameters and requirements,” Biswal said.

“With respect to the announcement in the Chabahar port, we have been very clear with the Indians on what we believe are the continuing restrictions on the activities with respect to Iran and what we have done,” she said.

She was responding to a question on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Iran visit from Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.

Modi’s visit, that saw the signing of a bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port for which India will invest USD 500 million, came months after the lifting of international sanctions on Iran following Tehran’s historic nuclear deal with the Western powers over its contentious atomic programme.

“Obviously nothing appears to be in violations of our agreements. But how do we see India as partner in fighting extremism and financing terrorism?” Cardin said as he expressed concerns that India’s economic relationship with Iran would further boost Tehran’s alleged activities to support various terrorist groups.

She said that India’s burgeoning ties with Iran are driven by ever growing energy needs and using the Persian Gulf nation as a gateway into Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Biswal in her answer said that “they (Indians) have been very responsive and receptive to our briefings, to what we believe the line are. And we have to examine the details of the Chabahar announcement to see where it falls in that place.

“But with respect to India’s relationship with Iran, which I do believe is primarily focused on economics and energy issues, we do recognise that from the Indian perspective that Iran represents for India a gateway into Afghanistan and Central Asia.”

“For India to be able to contribute to the economic development of Afghanistan, it needs access that it does not readily have across its land boundary. And India is seeking to deepen its energy relationship with the Central Asian countries and looking for routes that would facilitate that.

“That said we have been very clear with the Indians what our security concerns have been and we would continue to engage them on those issues,” said the US official.

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  1. D
    Debt collector
    May 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm
    Gm trump :)
  2. A
    May 26, 2016 at 6:08 am
    What we are seeing is the systematic selling of our country and it's resources back to the white man to propagate our future slavery under their new version of colonialism. If india wants to develop as a nation do what Iceland and Hungary did , they kicked out foreign financial insutions like IMF and World Bank and their cronnies like hsbc, standard chartered , morgan stanley. This is impossible as it is these that support our political cl on all sides of the table.
    1. A
      May 25, 2016 at 10:12 am
      And India is watching US-stan ties ‘very closely’. :Dlt;br/gt;Us should stop lecturing what other countries should do. India is a free country and responsible for its own interest and not American hypocrisies.
      1. G
        May 25, 2016 at 9:31 am
        American legislators ,many of them, may not understand what is good to their country or otherwise. Their administration with the support of Congress spent huge funds to finance stan,who has finally betra US by sheltering Osama bin Laden. With great risk even without making stan a proxy, Osama had to be eliminated. Now they are questioning a pure economic and logistic arrangement between India and Iran.
        1. J
          Jay D
          May 25, 2016 at 9:17 am
          1. S
            May 25, 2016 at 8:42 am
            W.A.T.C.H it! This is how you make friends with the people who matter. Rather than trusting and funding a country like stan, which took your money and did not give up osama, who btw, was living right near a military compound in abbottabad under high security.
            1. M
              M. Chandrasekaran
              May 25, 2016 at 9:04 am
              Does it mean USA, to curb Iran India should not grow?
              1. R
                Ramesh Nittoor
                May 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm
                There is a very strong anti-Iran lobby in US Senate and Congress. The reason for this is mostly historical and pertains to Israel. The long history of dispute is replete with terror incidents, and Iran has mostly been backing those terror groups. As Iran seeks to become a normal nation, India has a significant role to play. The reiteration on zero tolerance to terror by Iran during Modi visit is a clear indication of this intent. It will however take time to unwind past policies, but no further aggravation and attenuation here after would be real progress.
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