India appears to have again toed the U.S. line oblivious of the long-term importance of Iranian oil, the supply of which amounts to about $12 billion in energy security (“The cost of appeasement,” Jan. 3). India has acted in a manner that undermines its energy prospects. An aspiring world power should be able to calculate its benefits.
Investigation by the New York Times (December 24, 2010) has concluded that sanctions on state sponsors of terrorism notwithstanding, over the past decade the U.S. government has permitted American companies to engage in business with Iran and other blacklisted states. The U.S. Treasury has granted almost 10,000 licences to companies under a law, sponsored by the farm lobby and other industrial groups, that allows agricultural, medical and humanitarian aid to be exempted from sanctions. The humanitarian intent was diluted by a very broadly written law that allowed cigarettes, Wrigley's gum and Louisiana hot sauce to qualify for this because they “were deemed to serve American foreign policy goals.” Does India serve U.S. or Indian foreign policy goals?
The costs of appeasement and expression of servility in the nuclear deal are beginning to roll out. Starting with the American leveraged vote for sanctions against Iran, to the enforced scuttling of the Indo-Pakistan-Iran hydrocarbon pipeline and, now, the ban on Indian companies to use the ACU are proof of the one-sided nature of the Indo-U.S. relationship. What is the freedom of manoeuvrability available to India in its dealings with other nations, and those which are in conflict with U.S. interests?
Is the promise of a permanent seat in the UNSC worthwhile enough for us to become permanently bonded to the ‘Global Village Headman,' to use President K.R. Narayanan's term?
A country should first consider its own benefits and strategic needs. But the cancellation of the Asian Clearing Union to process import bills, perhaps because of “unknown pressures,” points to a zero-sum approach being followed by India. It will affect our strategic interests in Central Asia and our security concerns in the long term.
Ramesh Kumar Gollapudi,
The ban on using the ACU mechanism is yet another example of Indian capitulation to U.S. arm-twisting. Continued American transgression into our policy making space should be a matter of great concern. It is alarming that this outrageous decision has not evoked any protest from either political parties or trade bodies.