Prelims level : International (IR3) Mains level : Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations (GS2Q)
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Why in News:

  • U.S. President Donald Trump warned he would destroy Iran if it threatens the U.S


  • Tensions between the long-time foes resumed when the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international deal aimed at containing Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for stopping crippling sanctions against the country.
  • The U.S. had already ordered non-essential staff out of Iraq and the White House had announced that it was sending an aircraft carrier and bombers to West Asia.

Softer Approach:

  • However, Mr. Trump appeared to adopt a softer approach
  • Mr. Trump denied a New York Times report that his administration was planning to send 1,20,000 troops to West Asia if conditions deteriorated but at the same time, he said he would send “a hell of a lot” more than 1,20,000 troops if need be. Saudi Arabia called for emergency regional talks to discuss the Gulf tensions. King Salman invited Gulf leaders and Arab League member states to two emergency summits in Mecca to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences”.

What should be India’s Response:

  • India must consider not only its own interests in terms of its ties with Iran and with the U.S. and its allies, but also its position as a regional power.
  • Indian oil importers have already stopped placing orders for Iranian oil in compliance with the U.S. diktat on “zeroing out” imports. India had been importing about 10% of its oil requirements from Iran, and the losses in terms of finding alternative suppliers in the face of rising oil prices are piling up. Instead of being a mute spectator to the crisis that is building for India’s energy bill as well as for regional stability, New Delhi must take the challenge head-on.
  • One immediate priority is to work more closely with European countries in ensuring that Iran does not feel compelled to walk out of the nuclear deal, and to jointly build a sanctions-immune financial infrastructure to facilitate Iranian trade.
  • It is necessary that the countries affected in the region meet urgently, as well as unitedly express concerns over a possible U.S.-Iran clash.
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