THE NEW SUNDAY EXPRESS VOICES MAGAZINE PUSHPESH PANT G PARTHASARATHY ANAND NEELAKANTAN RAVI SHANKAR SHINIE ANTONY SADHGURU JAGGI VASUDEV JUNE 30 2019 SUNDAY PAGES 12 Trumping Teheran War-torn Middle East once again becomes the flashpoint as old foes America and Iran slide to the brink of armed conflict. India can play a vital role in balancing both sides. O By RAVI SHANKAR n November 4, 1979, Iranian students loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini—who declared America as the Great Satan—stormed the US Embassy in Teheran and took 52 Americans including diplomats, hostage. Jimmy Carter pressed the Navy to the rescue, resulting in the worst moment of his presidency when a US naval helicopter on the mission collided with a transport aircraft and killed eight American soldiers. It effectively scuttled his legacy and the Democratic Party’s hopes for re-election. The first sanctions were imposed on Iran after the debacle. Last Monday President , Donald Trump imposed sanctions against Iran’s 80-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, top Iranian generals and its Revolutionary Guard. In a statement, Trump announced that these “will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader’s office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support”. The India Problem THE GOOD Under a “strategic trade authorisation”, India is now eligible for defense-related technologies The Modi government is looking at more military support from the US The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement signed between the two nations allows the Indian and American forces to use each other’s facilities The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement allows for secure transmission of data and real-time information between the two nations The Trump administration has always spoken in favour of India when it comes to fighting terrorism SHUTTERSTOCK.COM THE BAD Thanks to the US, the US-China trade and technology conflict is rising With Donald Trump's “America first” policy, India has begun facing the heat Concessional oil imports from both Iran and Venezuela have dried up leading to sharp rise in India’s oil import bill Chabahar port, which lets India bypass Pakistan to create trade corridor to Afghanistan, may be in for a shock if relations with Iran sour The US is openly critical of India’s purchasing Russian-made air defense system and threatens economic sanctions. India’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme that gave it easier access to the American market is endangered The provocation was Iran shooting down a US military drone and allegedly damaging six oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman respectively On the night of . June 20, 2019, Trump called off a missile strike against Iran with 10 minutes to spare. With his knowledge and approval, the US launched cyber attacks against Iranian computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers. Detailed photos and video of Iranian boats removing a mine from one of the tankers were released by the US. Tehran has vigorously denied the charge. On June 17, the Pentagon announced that it will send 1,000 additional US forces and more military resources including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and missile defense systems to the Middle East. Iranian airspace was closed forcing flights out of India to deviate from original routes, driving up airfares. Diplomatic tensions are building up in the region. Former Ambassador and ex-member of India’s National Security Advisory Board, Dr Kanwal Sibal says, “If this conflict continues or escalates and oil flow is blocked, there will be vast economic repercussions the world over. US muscle-flexing shows its inability to learn from lessons of the past and after what happened in Iraq.” The week before, the Indian Navy gave escort to all Indianflagged oil tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait, located between Oman and Iran, is also vital for India, since it links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. In 2018, the daily oil flow averaged 21 million barrels per day—around 21 percent of the world’s oil consumption. With the US maintaining a heavy military presence in the region, Iran cannot block the Strait without risking war and global diplomatic disapproval. The standoff has political ramifications exceeding the geopolitical crisis. As US elections approach in 2020 and opinion polls showing his plummeting popularity Trump, , whose presidency is being defined by lies, rape allegations, corruption, immigrant concentration camps where babies are dying is bent on a confrontation course and raising America’s favourite bogey—Iran. Former Ambassador and currently a Senior Fellow and Cluster Leader at the Vivekananda International Foundation in Delhi, Anil Wadhwa says, “A war-like situation may aid Trump’s re-election bid. Such hardline policy will generate a certain amount of support. But it doesn’t help us or countries in the region. That’s a divergent interest in US domestic policy Al-Qaeda has .” been decimated. The ISIS has been ejected from the Middle East. But Iran and its theocratic regime led by Khamenei has remained in US crosshairs. America’s favourite weapon is economic. The first sanctions in 1979 froze $12 billion of Iranian assets. In 1987, fresh sanctions were issued. In 2006, the UN imposed sanctions after Iran refused to comply on stockpiling nuclear material. The US withdrew from the nuclear deal and imposed ELECTING TO ENGAGE As US elections approach in 2020 and opinion polls showing his plummeting popularity, Trump is bent on a confrontation course and raising America’s favourite bogey—Iran sanctions in November 2018 to stop Iran’s ballistic missile programme, cripple the Iranian economy and end support to the Hezbollah and Hamas which is fighting Israel. Sibal says, “There is the usual Trump doublespeak or confusion. Israel is continuously pushing America to take on Iran. From a global point of view, this is an extremely short-sighted and dangerous policy Trump has . damaged the global economy .” T he political parallels between Trump and former President Ronald Reagan are striking. In 1980, Republican candidate Reagan swept into the White House like Trump did in 2016. However, in 1982 the Democrats won a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections while in November 2018 the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. Trump’s anti-immigrant policies of ‘ merica A First’ are being imperilled just as the ‘Reagan Doctrine’ to help anti-Communist guerillas across the world was put in jeopardy In 1982 came . another hostage situation followed by a debacle, the Iran Contra scandal. Seven Americans were being held hostage in Lebanon by the Iran-backed Hezbollah. The Reagan administration sold arms through Israel to Iran which needed them badly in their war against Saddam Hussein, then a US ally It . was a complicated deal made in a theatre of illusory loyalties; Israel would ship missiles to Iran to be Turn to page 2 Donald Trump and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei BUFFET PEOPLE WELLNESS BOOKS FOOD ART & CULTURE ENTERTAINMENT
Express Publications (Madurai) Limited publishes the prestigious English language newspaper The New Indian Express from 21 centres in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa.
Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd. also publishes the Tamil daily Dinamani, Cinema Express (Tamil) and Malayalam Vaarika (Malayalam). Through a sister company, Kannada Prabha Publications Ltd., it publishes the Kannada daily Kannada Prabha.
This volume has been archived. It is available to read on request only.
You are logged-in with following email:
We have sent the confirmation email
You will receive the acknowledgement with link to read this volume in your email shortly.