The deal, inked on Sunday between Iran and the P 5+1 countries - the US, UK, France, Russia and China and Germany, is a welcome development for India as the lifting of sanctions would be beneficial for India. Iran would be able to export more oil, and with sanctions on shipping insurance eased, India would be able to import more Tehran crude. The prices of global crude would also soften.

But the advantages for India in the larger sense are more. If Iran and the US are able to normalize relations, then vis-à-vis Afghanistan in a regional sense it has advantages as it would enable once-pariah Tehran to play a more active role and also keep the Taliban out, the sources said.

In a regional sense, the deal gives India a closer working relationship with Iran on regional issues, like Afghanistan. India would also be able to have more frequent social exchanges with Iran that were constrained due to the US and Western sanctions, the sources said.

India also need not worry about the concerns aired by Saudi Arabia and Israel, both friends of India, to the deal. The US has closer ties with Saudi Arabia and Israel than India has with the two.

According to theses sources, if the US has been able to push through with the deal for the sake of "wider interests" it would also be able to safely manage its relations with Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

And moreover India has not been involved in the Geneva talks in any way, The six world powers, especially the US, had their own backchannel talks going on for many months.

The nuclear deal is an enabling first step and the fact that the players have been able to work out the deal reasonably quickly also gives India the optimism that both sides would be able to work out the comprehensive agreement as well. "That is what we would urge them to do," the sources added.

According to leading strategic affairs expert C Uday Bhaskar, while the Iran deal has no immediate benefit for India, the easing of sanctions on shipping insurance is a big positive development.

The sanctions on insurance had left refiners that processed Iranian oil without insurance cover and led to slashing of India's imports.

"With easing of sanctions, the shipping insurance companies will now be willing to pay higher insurance for Iranian crude," Bhaskar, a Distinguished Fellow with the Society for Policy Studies, said.

Another benefit of the deal was it would have a positive effect on the "global eco system of oil" which was tense earlier due to the US sanctions, he said.

Arundhati Ghose, former top Indian diplomat, said since the deal is only for six months, it would not have much benefit for India.

"It is not as if all sanctions have been lifted, only specific sanctions, that too only for six months. In the specific sanctions, they have included gold, automobile parts, three things which are very restrictive," she said,

Ghose said the "warming of relations between US and Iran, the timing is such that it may assist the Americans in their plans for withdrawal from Afghanistan, giving them an alternate route for one thing,.. The Iranians have helped them before in Afghanistan. And obviously it would be of political interest to us too," she added.

(Agencies)

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