Wall Street JournalÂ (subscription required) columnist Bret Stephens has lashed out at India’s supposedly growingÂ defense ties with Iran in a hard-hitting column on Tuesday.
Citing articles in DefenseNews and the Washington Quarterly as well as actions by the U.S. State and Justice Departments, Stephens charges India with providing miliary technology to Iran, a pariah state for the U.S. establishment.
The U.S. is deeply concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Iran is also one of the three countries in U.S. President George Bush’s Axis of Evil (the other two are North Korea and Iraq).
In his column Tuesday, Stephens wrote:
[I]f Congress is going to punch a hole in the NPT to accommodate India — with all the moral hazard that entails for the nonproliferation regime — it should get something in return. Getting India to drop, and drop completely, its presumptively ceremonial military ties to Iran isn’t asking a lot.
As for the Indians, they don’t seem unduly worried about the criticism over the Indo-Iran military relationship describing it as “ceremonial”.
India’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington DC Raminder Singh Jassal is quoted in the WSJ piece as saying:
We are aware of our responsibilities and we know the danger of an Iran with nuclear weapons.
India’s burgeoning ties with Iran is prompted by its growing energy needs. The two countries are working on a 1,600 mile-long, multi-billion dollar gas pipeline deal to move gas from Iran to India via Pakistan.Â The U.S. is opposed to the gas pipeline project.