With sanctions lifted after the nuclear arms treaty, Iran has asked India to invest $8 billion in the ‘golden time’ in infrastructure projects in the country without wasting time on negotiations. It’s an offer that India cannot ignore, but has to respond to quickly.
Since there are enough countries looking to woo Iran now, India needs to respond quickly. With PM Narendra Modi showing great interest in large infrastructure projects, the time is ripe for the government to get cracking.
After all, this includes developing Chabahar, a port west of the Pakistan port city of Gwadar, being developed by China. Chabahar is important since India had agreed to develop the port way back in 2003. First, it provides India a counter-balance to Pakistan and access to landlocked Afghanistan. Second, it allows India to tap into the second largest gas reserves in the world after Russia. India can either ship the gas from there or go in for a sub-sea deepwater pipeline to India avoiding the Pakistani continental shelf. The pipeline that is estimated to cost in the region of over $ 4 billion could supply India 1.1 billion standard cubic metres of gas daily. The advantage is that today there is technology on offer for such pipelines. Third, India can help build railway lines and pipelines that bring gas from other CIS countries to Chabahar.
The entry of Iran could lead to a further softening of crude oil and natural gas prices, which is great news for India, the world’s fourth largest importer of crude oil. It is also the second largest buyer of Iranian oil after China. While that sounds simple, it’s not. That’s because over the years, India has been buying a large chunk of arms from Israel. It needs to balance its ties with both countries. Considering that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is one world leader opposed to the Iran deal, India needs to ensure that it gets the best from both countries. As if that was not enough, India has to clear crude oil import dues of over $ 6 billion with Iran. India essentially need to act quickly to get the most out of Iran.