India walks tightrope as U.S. toughens Iran sanctions
February 15, 2012
NEW DELHI — A bomb attack Monday on an Israeli diplomat’s car in New Delhi underlines the tough balancing act that India has to perform as it attempts to manage its relations with the United States and Israel, and with Iran.
Despite Iran’s denial that it was involved, the incident complicates an equation that India has managed adroitly for years. As U.S. pressure mounts on Iran, the government in New Delhi finds itself in an increasingly uncomfortable position: Its dependence on Iranian oil and unwillingness to join U.S.-led sanctions against Iran put it at odds with Washington over a top U.S. national security priority.
Remaining neutral in one of the world’s most intense contests could become increasingly tough. At risk are not only the chances of building a united front to pressure Tehran to abandon its uranium-enrichment program, but also a burgeoning partnership between the world’s largest democracies.
“We can avoid a train wreck between the United States and India, but it’s going to take some degree of seriousness and some work,” said Richard Fontaine, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.