Despite (i)- Crippling economic US sanctions against Iran after withdrawal of USA from Iran nuclear deal (ii)- Six tankers explosion in that region in the last ~ one month including two on June 13, which crippled the Japanese Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian Front Altair, forcing their crews to abandon ship which the U.S. the Saudis and UK said that Iran was behind the attacks (which the Iran vociferously denied) and (iii)- On June 20 Iran shooting down a US military drone which the US claimed was in international airspace (while Iran said was over Iranian territory) with the result a military operation to strike Iran over the downing of a US drone was set to begin that night when the President called it off 10 minutes before strike, as US President said in public statement.
The war between USA and its allies and supporters v/s Iran and its allies and supporters has not started so-far for the simple reason that Iran can’t afford it and Prez Trump does not want it because he will otherwise face electoral problems (as Trump during 2016 campaign told to his support base that what to talk of fresh war rather he will pull-out all troops from foreign countries) and also due to the fact that Democrats are telling the Americans that Republican Trump pulled-out unilaterally & arbitrarily of Iran nuclear deal (which was signed by Democrat President Obama) and that is the root cause of the US-Iran problem with its adverse international ramifications.
This stalemate will not remain permanent because Iran is under tremendous economic pressure due to said US economic sanctions hence Iranian leaders are openly threatening that if they can’t export their oil, neither will anyone else from that region. In a nutshell the Iranians have their backs against the wall, and there is very little they can lose because they are already in a state of absolute loss after said US economic sanctions. Moreover even if new President comes in White House (if at all) it will take another one and half years which Iran cannot afford to wait. Hence this tanker war (due to some unintended and unexpected untoward incident) is bound to escalate into a US-Iran war and which is highly likely to culminate into World War III.
The people normally think that only military-industrial conflict between powerful adversaries triggers World War but it is not enough unless some country or human group is prepared to offer most of the blood for it. In 20th century World Wars, it was Russia / USSR which supplied most of the blood. In this World War III there is not only military-industrial conflict between USA & allies v/s China, Russia, Iran, North Korea group but for World War III most of the blood will be supplied by Muslims (both Shias and Sunnis from not only Central Asia-AF-Pak to NAME region but even from Muslim countries Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia etc). Hence World War III is highly likely if not inevitable and this will hugely and adversely impact India (if India does not wake-up) as given below:-
(1)- In any US-Iran military flare-up India will stop getting most of oil from Gulf & Middle East region. Presently Indian economy is heavily dependent on oil and 70 % of oil consumption in India is out of imports which means that in case of huge reduction of oil imports the Indian economy (with rural distress) will become unviable and unsustainable to a large extent. As far 30 % of India’s consumption of oil which India produces, the substantial part of it will be given to Indian Military which will need it urgently due to exacerbated Kashmir problem (in addition to home grown terrorism after Killing of Burhan Wani in 2016) also instigated by Pakistan, an adversary supported all-out by China.
(2)- Huge bloodshed of Shias and Sunnis in World War III is bound to create huge political and law & order problems in India as it will create bad-blood & ill feelings not only between Sunnis and Shais of India (~ 200 million) but also between Muslims and non-Muslims of India.
(3)- During World War III, India will not be able to remain non-aligned (strategically independent) which will bring Indo-US tension to the fore on two counts (i)- ‘Indo-Pacific doctrine’ which USA is trying to thrust on India when it says that “India is a crucial partner in the Trump administration’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region” and (ii)- ‘US- India military cooperation and interoperability doctrine’ being pushed by USA under which USA is asking India to give-up S-400 missile defense system deal with Russia.
In order to avoid all these problems, India (and its Muslim population) should take active interest for solving US-Iran problem by offering to provide manpower for carrying out elections under UN in NAME region (first in Syria), by demanding one-State solution for Israel –Palestine problem and by demanding de-nuclearization. By Hem Raj Jain
(Author of ‘Betrayal of Americanism’)
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India