India likely to continue building relations with Iran through energy and defense cooperation
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India, for its part, will continue to be “tactically tough” on short-term votes by the IAEA board of governors (of which India is a member) against Iran’s continuing opacity on supplying data, albeit just enough to ensure continuing smooth strategic relations with the United States. However, it will also continue to cooperate with Iran on building oil and gas pipelines on Iranian territory to get badly needed fuels to India’s economy as well as modernizing Iranian energy transportation infrastructure, possibly even making Iran an energy transportation hub linking Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East through new ports and railroads. It may in fact do the latter in cooperation with Russia and China. Further, India can be expected to support Iran in niche areas of conventional defense technologies and weaponry (e.g., India recently supplied better fuel bat teries to Iran’s Russian-made submarines, as well as servicing its naval and air force equipment). It will also continue pursuing strong cultural ties that emphasize commonalities between Iran’s Shia culture and India’s own burgeoning Shiite population.26
India has growing economic ties with Iran and is investing heavily in its energy sector to provide a reliable source of fuel for India's growing economy. Strategically, while being careful not to upset its relations with the U.S. or the West, India also looks to Iran as a potential balance against Pakistan.