Indo-Iranian Relations during the Cold War

Mushtaq Hussain is a doctoral candidate at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
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  • November 2012

    India and Iran have shared a rich history of civilisational ties for many centuries. The close historical relations were, however, ruined by the British rule and the subsequent loss of contiguity owing to the creation of Pakistan. Iran's alliance with the Western bloc and India's adherence to the principles of non-alignment, albeit with leanings towards the Soviet Union, were the major determinants of Indo-Iranian bilateral relations until 1979. Pakistan, and its impression on the successive Iranian regimes, also played a major role in this relationship. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 changed the situation dramatically, with Iran overnight becoming a staunch US foe. The ensuing Iran–Iraq war and the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan then acted as further spoilers for the development of cordial ties between India and Iran. Extraneous factors continually prevented Indo-Iranian political relations from maturing. Economic relations, in turn, were held hostage and remained far from substantive.