NEW DELHI: The US has kept India in the loop about developments related to Iran following the killing of top Iranian commander
. It is understood that Secretary of State
discussed the situation with outgoing Indian ambassador and foreign secretary-designate Harsh Vardhan Shringla in a meeting after the US airstrike which left Soleimani dead.
Pompeo Friday had a round of telephonic conversations with leaders across the globe as the US sought to explain its strike on Soleimani away as defensive action in response to “imminent threats” to American lives. He also spoke to Pakistan army chief Qamar Bajwa, bypassing PM
, about the US decision to eliminate Soleimani.
Pompeo is learnt to have emphasised that the US remained committed to de-escalation in the region. With Iran vowing revenge though, US is deploying thousands of troops to the region.
India has been particularly concerned about the latest escalation in US-Iran tensions not just because of its ties with Iran but also the presence of 8 million Indian nationals in the region, who account for more than 50 per cent of around $ 70 billion remittances earned by India every year.
Many in India believe that the US unilateralism in taking out a senior Iranian leader has put India in a bind. It was evident from India’s official reaction to Soleimani’s killing in which the government sought to play safe as it called for restraint and mentioned how the world had been alarmed.
India is also worried about the fate of its
project in Iran which allows it to bypass Pakistan in accessing central Asia and Pakistan. Even as it forced India to cut crude imports from Iran, the US allowed special exception for Chabahar development in the name of reconstruction assistance and economic development for
. If a war indeed is thrust upon the region, it’s perhaps safe to say that work on the project will not remain unaffected.