By K.N. Pandita
Indian visit was the shortest leg – just eight hours long – in Iranian Presidentâ€’s recent South Asian visit.
Yet this shortest leg is perhaps the most important in term of Iran’s vision of Look East (nigah-i be sharq) policy. 1. Iran’s disregard of Security Council’s three instalments of economic sanctions and her rejection of Washington’s allegations of interference in Iraq forced Teheran to recast her geopolitical strategy. 2. She concentrated on diversifying her foreign policy by exploring new economic, political and commercial space in such regions of South Asia, which no doubt geographically close to her strategic reach are at the same time crucial to the global strategy of the United States. Iranian foreign minister Manuchehr Mottaqi, who has received his education in Bangalore, may well have taken the cue from India’s Look East policy of the decades between 1970 and 1990.
Thus Iran has extended her political arm to the strategic Indian Ocean island State of Sri Lanka, and two most important countries of the sub-continent, namely Pakistan and India. This is a subset of Iran’s ambitious global strategy to stand up to the American pressers and antics. Iran’s billion-dollar investment in Sri Lankan sole oil refinery and funding of 450 million US dollars in that country’s Uma Opaya power project gives her a dependable foothold in the Indian Ocean region.