President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stops in India Tuesday after visiting Pakistan and Sri Lanka on a trip aimed at inking energy deals and curbing the West's influence.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is taking Iran's outreach strategy to South Asia this week, with high-profile visits to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India aimed at making energy deals and curbing Western influence.
Mr. Ahmadinejad and Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf said Monday – during the Iranian leader's first stop – that no barriers remained to signing a $7.6 billion pipeline deal that will provide both energy-starved Pakistan and India with natural gas.
But the biggest challenge on Ahmadinejad's latest goodwill trip to counter US influence and rekindle diplomatic friendships would be in India.
"India is very short on energy, so there are economic reasons for India to maintain a working relationship with Iran," he adds. "However India's long-term and strategic relationship is definitely with Washington, and I think that has been made very, very clear."
Although India has long been friendly with Iran, its policies have turned increasingly pro-American since the Bush administration began work on a substantial nuclear energy package in mid-2005, giving US nuclear equipment and fuel to a country that secretly developed nuclear weapons and never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
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