Regional perspective

N-deal with Iran could mean cheaper oil for India, new trade routes to Central Asia

If all goes well, the agreement reached in Lausanne could enhance stability across Western and Southern Asia.

The breakthrough on the contentious nuclear issue arrived at between Iran and the US-led P5 plus 1 nations announced in Lausanne on Thursday  has the potential to bring about a tectonic shift in the regional strategic framework, as well as long-term implications on a global scale. The return of Iran to the global polity as a normal state has specific relevance for India in a range of geo-political, economic, energy,  trade and connectivity issues.

However some caveats are in order before reaching for the champagne. The deal has been arrived at in Lausanne is an understanding that Iran will  accept certain strict conditions over how it uses its nuclear resources. This is aimed at ensuring that it will not be able to acquire nuclear weapons. In return, the US-led interlocutors will gradually lift the sanctions that have been imposed on Tehran for almost four decades, ending the ostracism it has faced since November 1979.

The negotiators have until June 30 to reach a comprehensive agreement and there are many banana peels that have to be avoided by both US President Barrak Obama and the Iranian leadership.  Resistance to the Lausanne breakthrough has already been voiced  in both Washington and  Tehran. While Iranian hardliners accuse their Foreign Minister Javad Zarif  of having conceded too much in return for too little, the hostility in the US is even more intense. In fact, in early March, 47 Republican members of the US Senate took the unprecedented step of warning Iran in an open  letter  that they would oppose any deal reached in Switzerland.

A work in progress

As a consequence, the Lausanne agreement is still a work in progress and the world will have to wait till end June to hail it as a substantive breakthrough. Yet this modus vivendi has the potential to bring about a major shift in West Asia and the tangled politics of the Islamic world that have pitted  Saudi Arabia and  its Sunni brethren against  the ayatollah-led Shia Iran,  whose influence is visible in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

For India, the resolution of the Iranian nuclear nettle will be cause for some satisfaction. Though India was not a principal player in the current talks, Delhi had consistently maintained that it supported Tehran’s right to have access to the peaceful use of nuclear energy as mandated in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state.  Iran had signed the treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state in 1968 and had ratified the treaty in 1970.

Consequently, a positive outcome on June 30 will have multiple relevance  for India. The most immediate will be the return to normal trading  rhythms with Iran and the impact on India’s oil situation will be beneficial. The very fact that there would be an accommodation between the US-European Union combine  and Iran has depressed oil prices, though the increase in Iran’s domestic oil production and export is still some months away.

Afghanistan fall-out

The more significant geo-political strand is the possibility that Iran will gradually become a stakeholder and participant in the re-construction of a  very turbulent Afghanistan.  The US withdrawal from the region  and the conviction that Pakistan will emerge as  the only actively engaged  neighbour of  Kabul will now have to contend with Iran’s normal  profile as an interested neighbour of  Afghanistan. Hence, Pakistan will have to re-calibrate its strategic-depth policy.  For India,  reviving the  stalled connectivity options  leading to  Afghanistan and Central Asia both by land and through the sea-route will not be hostage to the intransigence of the Pakistan military.

The greater effect of Iran’s admittance into the regional comity is the impact it will have on the geo-political turbulence in the Islamic world, manifest in the radical ideologies and  violence associated with the Islamic State, the al-Qaida and the Sunni-Shia tensions that have scarred the extended West Asian region.  Yemen and Syria are testimony to the damage that has been cynically supported through the proxy powers.

India has a deep stake in the stability of this extended West Asian region, which is critical to its energy security, as also the safety of its almost six million expatriate workers who provide invaluable foreign exchange remittances. The need for a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia is imperative and if  the Modi government  can rise to the occasion, Delhi could be a quiet facilitator in this regard.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

The qualities of a high-performance luxury sedan

A lesson in harnessing tremendous power to deliver high performance.

Gone are the days when the rich and successful would network during a round of golf, at least in the Silicon Valley. As reported by New York Times, ‘auto-racing has become a favourite hobby for the tech elites’. However, getting together on a race track would require a machine that provides control while testing extreme limits. Enter the Mercedes-AMG range of cars.

Mercedes-AMG’s rise from a racing outfit to a manufacturer of peak performance cars is dotted with innovations that have pushed the boundaries of engineering. While the AMG series promises a smooth driving experience, its core is made up of a passion for motorsports and a spirit that can be summarized in two words – power and performance. These integral traits draw like-minded people who share and express Mercedes-AMG’s style of performance.

The cars we drive say a lot about us, it’s been said. There are several qualities of an AMG performance luxury sedan that overlap with the qualities of its distinguished owner. For instance, creating an impression comes naturally to both, so does the ambition to always deliver an exceptional performance. However, the strongest feature is that both the owner and the AMG marque continually challenge themselves in pursuit of new goals, stretching the limits of performance.

This winning quality comes alive, especially, in the latest Mercedes-AMG marque – the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+. With the most powerful engine to have ever been installed in an E-class, this undisputed performance sedan promises immense power at the driver’s command. With 612 HP under its hood, the car achieves 0-100 km/h in just a few seconds - 3.4 to be precise. Moreover, the car comes with the latest driver-assistance technology that promises intelligent control and provides an agile and responsive ride.

But, the new AMG is not just about work (or traction in car lingo). One of its core features is to provide its owners a challenge on the race track. Its drift mode, which converts the vehicle into a pure rear-wheel drive, offers pure exhilaration and adds a work-play dynamic to the car. In that sense, the new AMG is a collaborator of sorts - one that partners with its owner to create an impression through performance. And on the weekends, the car pushes him/her to express absolute power using its race mode with a thunderous roar of the engine - the pure sound of adrenalin. This balance between work and play has been achieved using cutting-edge features in the car that together create an almost intuitive driver-machine relationship.

If you’re looking for a car that shares your enthusiasm for driving, you’ll find a partner in the new AMG. However, buying an AMG is not just about owning a powerhouse on wheels, it’s also about adopting a driving philosophy in which power is just the starting point - the main skill lies in how you manoeuvre that power on the road. A performance sedan in its sportiest form, Mercedes-AMG’s latest model takes vehicle performance to an unmatched level. A decade ago, this amount of speed and power in a luxury 4-door model would be un-thinkable.


The new Mercedes-AMG comes with a host of individualisation options through designo, the artistic side of Mercedes’s innovation, so the car becomes an extension of the owner’s distinctive personality. An expressive design with a new radiator grille and a muscular front apron showcase its athleticism. A new-age driver environment, widescreen cockpit, the AMG performance steering wheel and sports seat delivers an intensive driving experience. With the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+, AMG has created an undisputed performance sedan that can rip the race track as well as provide reliable luxury sedan-duty. To know more about the most powerful E-class of all time, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes-Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.