February 16, 2012
Following the American Jewish Committee’s bluntly-worded weekend letter to Nirupama Rao, Indian Ambassador to the United States, one of the authors of the letter, AJC Executive Director David Harris has said to The Hindu that India could seek to source its energy needs from other West Asian nations but not Iran.
“As for energy sources, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, and other oil-exporting countries are creating a sufficient swing capacity to make up for any lost Iranian oil,” Mr. Harris said in an emailed statement.
While he admitted that the AJC understood that India had geopolitical interests in the region and energy needs for its surging economy that were quite specific, he added that “nuclear-aspiring Iran poses a profound threat to the region and the world.”
When asked whether Israel would be in any position to compensate for lost Iranian oil should India curtail its ties with Iran, Mr. Harris said, “I wish that Israel were in this category of energy-exporting nations, and thus in a position to assist its friend, India. That day may come in the not-too-distant future, but, alas, it is not here yet.”
Along with his colleague and Executive Director Robert Elman, Mr. Harris had said in their letter to Ms. Rao that New Delhi was attempting to take advantage of sanctions adopted by like-minded nations for the explicit purpose of preventing nuclear proliferation by a “dangerously aggressive regime.”
In that letter the AJC heads had cited the case of Indian Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar, who reportedly said that “a huge delegation” of Indian business representatives would soon travel to Iran to capitalise on opportunities created by European withdrawal from the Iranian market.
Mr. Harris said to The Hindu that even such attempts to deepen Indian ties with Iran may fail. “Why, in any case, would India seek risky contracts in Iran that may not materialize because of the inherent instability of the situation?” he asked.