American Shadow over India–Iran Relations

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  • November 2012

    India's ties with Iran have become an irritant in the India–US relationship. Several scholars have alleged that the US is influencing India's Iran policy. This article examines three cases in which the US is said to have influenced India's position: the Iran–Pakistan–India (IPI) pipeline; India's votes against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency; and the Reserve Bank of India's guidelines of December 2010, which stopped oil payments to Iran through the Asian Clearing Union. The article concludes that while American pressure on India in each of these cases was tremendous and might have had some influence on India's position, this alone was not the decisive factor that determined India's stance. Given its well-documented tradition of maintaining strategic autonomy in its foreign policy, India would not have taken the positions it did if it had fundamental disagreements with the US on these issues.