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India’s stakes in the Iran-Israel conflict and its stand

15th April, 2024 International Relations

India’s stakes in the Iran-Israel conflict and its stand

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  • South Block expressed "serious concern" at the escalation of hostilities and called for immediate de-escalation, emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Middle East region after Iran launched a retaliatory attack on Israel using drones and missiles on April 14.

Concerns for India:

  • India is concerned about the potential escalation of conflict, particularly due to its strategic ties with both Iran and Israel.
  • A wider conflict in the region would pose challenges to India's strategic interests, including economic ties and the safety of Indian nationals residing in the Gulf and West Asia.
  • India's stance advocating for immediate de-escalation and a return to diplomacy is crucial for safeguarding its national interests and maintaining stability in the region.

India’s stake in Israel:

  • Strategic Partnership: India and Israel share a robust strategic partnership, characterized by cooperation in defense, counter-terrorism, intelligence sharing, and cybersecurity. Both countries face common security threats and have developed strong defense ties to address them.
  • Defense Cooperation: The two sides have strong concerns about extremism and terrorism, as both have suffered during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Israel has also emerged as a major defense supplier, along with the US, France, and Russia, and New Delhi remembers that it has stepped up to help during times of crisis, including the Kargil war in 1999. Israel provides India with advanced defense technologies, including missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), radar systems, and electronic warfare systems. Joint military exercises and defense collaboration contribute to enhancing India's defense capabilities.
  • Counter-terrorism Collaboration: India and Israel collaborate closely in counter-terrorism efforts, sharing intelligence and expertise to combat terrorism and extremism. Both countries face similar security challenges and have cooperated in areas such as border security, intelligence gathering, and counter-insurgency operations.
  • Technological Partnership: Israel is known for its innovation and technological prowess, and India seeks to leverage Israel's expertise in various fields such as agriculture, water management, healthcare, and renewable energy. Bilateral cooperation in technology transfer, research and development, and innovation hubs fosters mutual growth and development.
  • Economic Relations: India and Israel have witnessed significant growth in bilateral trade and investment in recent years. Both countries explore opportunities for collaboration in sectors like agriculture, IT, pharmaceuticals, and startups. Strengthening economic ties contributes to fostering prosperity and development in both nations.
  • Diplomatic Engagement: India's diplomatic engagement with Israel has evolved over the years, with both countries establishing full diplomatic relations in 1992. High-level visits, diplomatic dialogues, and exchanges reinforce bilateral relations and enhance cooperation in various domains.
  • People-to-People Contacts: People-to-people contacts play a crucial role in fostering India-Israel relations, with cultural exchanges, academic collaborations, and tourism contributing to greater understanding and friendship between the two nations.

Overall, India's stake in Israel is multifaceted, encompassing defense cooperation, technological partnerships, economic relations, diplomatic engagement, and people-to-people contacts. For these reasons, any conflicts involving  Israel would affect the relations of India with Israel.

India’s stake in Iran

  • Energy Security: Iran is a crucial source of energy for India, particularly oil imports. India relies on Iran to meet its energy needs and reduce dependency on other oil-producing countries. The Chabahar Port in Iran also provides India with access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, enhancing its energy security and trade routes diversification.
  • Strategic Location: Iran's strategic location in the Persian Gulf and its proximity to key shipping lanes makes it geopolitically important for India. Stable relations with Iran contribute to India's maritime security and strategic interests in the region.
  • Infrastructure Development: India has invested in infrastructure projects in Iran, including the development of the Chabahar Port and associated road and rail networks. These projects aim to enhance connectivity between India, Iran, and Afghanistan, boost regional trade, and counter China's influence in the region.
  • Trade and Economic Cooperation: Despite international sanctions on Iran, India maintains trade and economic ties with the country. Both nations explore opportunities for cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, and manufacturing. India seeks to expand bilateral trade and investment with Iran, leveraging its market potential and natural resources.
  • Cultural and Historical Ties: India and Iran share deep-rooted cultural and historical ties, dating back centuries. Cultural exchanges, academic collaborations, and people-to-people contacts strengthen bilateral relations and foster mutual understanding and friendship between the two nations.
  • Security Cooperation: India and Iran collaborate on security issues, particularly in combating terrorism and extremism in the region. Both countries share concerns about stability in Afghanistan and work together to promote peace and security in the region.
  • Diplomatic Engagement: India maintains diplomatic relations with Iran and engages in high-level dialogues and exchanges to enhance bilateral cooperation. Diplomatic engagement reinforces mutual trust, promotes dialogue, and addresses shared challenges and opportunities.

These stakes in Iran for India make Iran an important country.  Any wars involving Iran would thus impact India Iran relations and projects of India.

Other impacts of the war on India

  • Firstly, while there are about 18,000 Indians in Israel and about 5,000-10,000 Indians in Iran, about 90 lakh people are living and working in the Gulf and West Asia region. Any conflict that expands will end up posing a risk to the Indian community that is based in the region.
  • Secondly, India’s economic interests are tied to energy security — the West Asia region contributes to India’s 80 percent of oil supplies, which a potential conflict will impact. India has been able to minimise the impact of oil prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war by buying Russian oil at discounted prices, but this conflict will hurt energy prices.
  • Thirdly, India has invested in a strategic relationship with major Arab countries, Iran, and Israel. New Delhi sees the region as its extended neighborhood, and it has been working with all sides in the turbulent region to push for the India-Middle-East-Europe Economic corridor, which has strategic as well as economic benefits for Delhi. A conflict has the potential to unravel the consensus that has been built around the peace in the otherwise combustible region.


  • India has strategic ties with both Iran and Israel and has traditionally maintained a balanced position between the two. However, if the conflict escalates, it would be challenging for India to maintain neutrality. India’s position that there should be “immediate de-escalation” and “step back from violence” and “return to the path of diplomacy” is, therefore, crucial to its national interest.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/india-stake-iran-israel-conflict-tensions-9269260/


Discuss India's stance on the ongoing conflict between Iran and Israel, considering its diplomatic challenges and strategic implications. Evaluate the factors influencing India's foreign policy approach towards the conflict, and analyze the potential consequences for India's regional and global interests. Assess the role of multilateral forums and diplomatic initiatives in India's efforts to promote peace and stability in the Middle East region amidst escalating tensions between Iran and Israel. (250 words)