Iran, a country run by an Islamic government and India, a custodian of Hindu nationalism intermixed with secular ideas, make for a curious amalgamation. The two nations have forsworn past hostilities to establish close ties. Reasons are numerous and the impacts multiple. The strengthening of the new India-Iran relationship in recent years is an impressive Indian diplomatic achievement and a depressing comment on Pakistan. As for Pakistan, India is a defined stress and Iran a perceived caress. The Indo-Iranian rapport encircles significant subjects of global interest like the flow of energy resources, political developments in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, economic and commercial areas and the North-South Transportation Corridor. The consequences would be discontentment in US congress and in Pakistan's foreign policy circles. Strong motivational factors attract India and Iran towards each other. Being an acknowledged member of the 'Axis of Evil', Iran perceives India as a supportive ally that could save Tehran from isolation in the global strategic configurations. For India, the relationship is a useful part of an attempt to pursue Indian interests with a noteworthy neighboring economy. Most importantly, the connections with Iran would satisfy Indian energy needs as well as the opportunity to expand and amplify its influence in the Persian Gulf. The Iran-India alliance, though, is likely to deprive Pakistan of another friend in the region. -FAIZA IDREES SINDHU, Islamabad, via e-mail, August 5.