The United States has not retaliated against Iranian missile strikes on American military facilities in Iraq yet but in the event of a full-fledged conflict in the Middle East, India is going to be on the receiving end as well.
There has been no official statement from India's Ministry of External Affairs on the escalating conflict but New Delhi has issued a travel advisory for Iraq.
"Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification. Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq. Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq", India's Ministry of External Affairs has said.
Like any other emerging country, India relies on the Middle East for its energy requirements, and analysts are predicting a difficult situation for India if Iraq becomes battleground between Iran and the US.
If Iran and the US choose to enter into direct confrontation after Wednesday's strikes India will be forced to choose between the two and it is going to be a difficult call for New Delhi to make, says Harsh Pant, Director of Studies and the Head of the Strategic Studies Programme at the Observer Research Foundation.
“The US has a number of vulnerabilities in the region and Iran has demonstrated that by targeting its military bases in Iraq. And Iraq is an important oil source for India; it’s at second number for oil imports. If Iraq becomes a battleground between the US and Iran, India will lose out. India will have great difficulty in sustaining its energy requirements", Pant says.
Security of Indian Diaspora in Region at Risk
Over the past two decades, the destination for Indian migrants has shifted away from the US toward countries in the Middle East mostly to work as manual labourers and domestic staff, according to figures from the United Nations.
“We have a large Indian diaspora in the Middle East whose security will be at risk in the case of escalation of the conflict. We will have to evacuate them. There are multiple pressure points", Pant says.
The analyst also highlights the economic aspect of the conflict, saying that the diaspora is sending remittances to India, which would eventually affect the economic health of the country in the event of a global downturn.
Impact on Oil Prices
The Indian government in New Delhi wants stability in the region so that oil will continue to flow and greater economic viability of the Indian economy can be sustained.
“A gradual escalation has been witnessed in the oil price but there are speculations that markets will factor in. India has been lucky with regard to oil prices despite conflict in Middle East but the recent developments will lead to effects on markets", Pant says.
Pant also highlights that the conflict is not going to affect oil imports for India but other countries like China and South Korea, will be hampered as they rely on about 80% to 90% for oil imports.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.