India worried about oil imports being affected by regional developments

India worried about oil imports being affected by regional developments
India's stance of maintaining a non-adversarial relationship with all major West Asian powers will come under strain in a crisis situation. (AFP/File)
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Updated 07 January 2020

India worried about oil imports being affected by regional developments

India worried about oil imports being affected by regional developments
  • The Middle East is the closest extended neighborhood for India

NEW DELHI: India is being dragged into Middle East tensions following US President Donald Trump’s claim that an Iranian general was behind a terror attack in New Delhi, foreign policy experts have told Arab News.

Qassem Soleimani, who was head of the overseas Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was among those killed in Baghdad last Friday by a US airstrike.

Trump, who ordered the hit, said the slain general had contributed to deaths worldwide: “Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London,” Trump said on Saturday referring to the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi almost eight years ago.

India called for restraint and calm after Solemani’s death came to light.

Anil Trigunayat, a former diplomat who served as India's  ambassador to Gulf nations, told Arab News that any negative developments in the region would have a direct effect on India and its interests. 

The Middle East is the closest extended neighborhood for India and New Delhi was reliant on the region for almost 70 percent of its hydrocarbon requirements, he said.

But India’s strategic neutrality in the region would not be compromised because it had friendly relations with all countries there, he added. “India also remains the next big economic opportunity for the region and the world. These provide India with the credibility to be an honest interlocutor.”

Pranay Kotasthane, from the Bangalore-based Takshashila Institution, said it would not be easy for India to maintain non-adversarial ties with Middle Eastern countries.

“India's stance of maintaining a non-adversarial relationship with all major West Asian powers will come under strain in a crisis situation,” he told Arab News. “Every decision made by India will be seen by a few countries in zero-sum terms — if you are not with us, you are against us. India should continue to keep away from the many conflicts in that region and pursue parallel diplomacy with all sides.” 


Japan’s Okinawa declares coronavirus emergency as cases spike

Japan’s Okinawa declares coronavirus emergency as cases spike
Updated 50 min 38 sec ago

Japan’s Okinawa declares coronavirus emergency as cases spike

Japan’s Okinawa declares coronavirus emergency as cases spike
  • The emergency is scheduled to last until Feb. 7
TOKYO: Japan’s southernmost prefecture, Okinawa, declared a state of emergency on Tuesday over the COVID-19 pandemic, as the country grapples with a surge in infections six months before it is set to host the Summer Olympics.
Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki said emergency measures include asking restaurants and bars to close by 8 p.m. and residents to refrain from non-urgent outings after 8 p.m.
The emergency is scheduled to last until Feb. 7.
The national government had already issued a state of emergency for Tokyo and other areas but the southern island, which hosts the bulk of US military forces in Japan, went ahead and declared an emergency of its own after a spike in cases.
The prefecture confirmed 113 cases on Tuesday, its third-highest daily tally on record, public broadcaster NHK reported.
Shizuoka prefecture, home to Mount Fuji, also declared “an emergency alert” of its own on Tuesday after it found cases of a more contagious coronavirus variant, Kyodo News reported.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has vowed to forge ahead with preparations to hold the Olympics this summer, in the face of growing public opposition as COVID-19 cases mount.
Recent polls show around 80 percent of people in Japan believe the Olympics, already postponed by a year because of the pandemic, should not be held this summer, while one of Suga’s cabinet members told Reuters last week the Games may not go ahead as planned.