NEW DELHI : The US killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds through a drone strike on Friday has fuelled worries of tensions spiraling out of control. India sees the region as part of its extended neighbourhood housing about 7 million expatriate Indians who send home valuable foreign remittance. It also a major source of energy for import-dependent India.
The strike that killed Soleimani, seen as an architect of Iran’s growing military influence in the West Asia, is expected to slow down India’s plans to develop the Chabahar port that New Delhi first spoke of turning into a gateway to access landlocked Central Asia and Afghanistan –bypassing hostile neighbour Pakistan — in 2003.
Analysts in India say Soleimani’s killing is Washington’s way of retaliating in the proxy battle being fought in Iraq and Syria, between Iran-supported militias and US troops in the region. Earlier this week, the US embassy in Baghdad was stormed by the militias whose logistics and command and control centres in Syria and Iraq were hit by US airstrikes.