Soleimani killed: US-Iran tensions to soar and the impact on India
New Delhi, Jan 03: The killing of Commander Qasem Soleimani is hugely significant for the United States. The head of the Al Quds Force, the elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Force, was visible in every Middle East operation that Iran was involved in.
His presence was visible in Iraq, Syria or Yemen and the US accused him and his force of undertaking destabilising activity.
It may be recalled in 2012, there was an attack on Israeli diplomats in New Delhi. One of the embassy staff members was injured in the attack. A similar incident was reported at Georgia, but the bomb was defused.
In Delhi, a motorcyclist attached a sticky bomb to the car in which the wife of a Israeli diplomat was travelling. The lady Tal Yehoshua Koren sustained moderate injuries. The driver and two bystanders too suffered minor injuries.
The police arrested an Indian journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi who claimed to work for an Iranian news organisation. The Delhi police had said that the terrorists belonging to a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were responsible for the attack. Kazmi is currently out on bail.
The killing of Soleimani would no doubt escalate tensions between Iran and the US. Following the hit, Yashar Ali, a journalist tracking developments in Iran tweeted, “We shouldn’t be surprised to see the Supreme Leader order covert operations all over the globe (including, dare I say, in the US) that involve assassinations & other acts of terrorism. We should expect to see the most significant/aggressive response.”
India shares strong relations with both the US and Iran. The escalation in tensions between the two countries could have huge ramifications for India in terms of crude prices, foreign police and the economy. It could also trigger a massive exodus of the expatriates in case of any conflict.
Ever since the imposition of strict sanctions against Iran, tensions have been high with the US. Sanctions on Iranian oil exports were imposed last year and this had forced major importers like India and China to cut purchases. The sanctions were imposed after several oil tankers were attacked in the Persian Gulf. The US had blamed Iran for the attacks.
For the US this development is significant. The US has accused Iran of conducting proxy wars across the Middle East. Soleimani oversaw the operations against the US servicemen in Iraq by the Shia militias.
India depends on crude imports from West Asia and other regions. The escalation of tensions would witness a spike in the prices and this would, in turn, have an impact at a time when the economy is slowing down.
In the year 2017 India received USD 69 billion worth of external remittances according to data by the Reserve Bank of India. Over 50 per cent of these remittances came from Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Nearly 8 million Indian workers are present across West Asia. Any instability in the region is likely to affect the remittance flow.
"At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani," a statement by the Pentagon read after the strike.
The strike was aimed at deterring further Iranian attack plans. The US will continue to take all necessary action to protect the people and their interests wherever they are in the world, the statement further said.
US defence secretary Mark Esper said that the US would not accept attacks against its personnel in the region. He blamed Iran for the violence at the embassy. Attacks against us will be met with responses in the time, manner, and place of our choosing. We urge the Iranian regime to end their malign activities,” a statement read.