US, UK Look to Peacemaker Modi

Foreign Affairs

New Delhi: With India planning to use the opportunity provided by the G-20 presidency to play the role of a “peacemaker for global good”, the growing concern in the US, the UK and Australia, key members of the group, about Russia providing an “unprecedented level” of military and technical support to Iran is likely to snowball into a major issue that New Delhi will have to deal with. The Joe Biden administration has said that Russia is extending military support to Iran in exchange for Tehran supplying weapons for the war in Ukraine.

The US, the UK and Australia are of the view that the partnership between Russia and Iran poses a threat not just to Ukraine but to Iran’s neighbours in the region.

According to media reports quoting diplomatic sources,  the US has shared this information with India, expecting New Delhi to intervene using its sound relations and rapport with Moscow. The UK and Australia have, according to sources, also reached out to India, expressing their apprehensions about this “dangerous” Russia-Iran partnership.

“In fact, all these countries have high expectations from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is being looked at as a peacemaker ever since the Ukraine war broke out,” sources said.

The White House has said that the relationship between Iran and Russia is transforming into “a full-fledged defence partnership” with weapons and military expertise flowing in both directions. “This is the cause of concern not only for the neighbouring countries but for the entire international community,” diplomats here said, quoting the officials of the Biden administration. “Such issues do have potential to divert the focus at the multiple G-20 conclaves that will be taking place during the next one year,” a source said.

US National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said Russia is giving an unprecedented level of military support. There are reports that the two countries are considering joint production of lethal drones, he added. Kirby further said that a partnership between Iran and Russia to produce drones would be harmful to Ukraine, Iran’s neighbours and the international community.