Diplomatist Special Report: West Asia - North Africa 2018 WANA 2018 - Page 34

Looking West: India’s Energy Requirments and Its West Asia Policy By ADARSH ARAVIND* E nergy security has long been a concern for India, a global giant in oil consumption. The fuel demands are growing fast in proportion to its rapid economic development. Oil and natural gas are expected to remain India’s main source of energy in the coming two to three decades. Due to the lack of signifi cant domestic reserves of oil and natural gas, India has looked towards the geopolitically challenging West Asian region to fulfi l its requirements throughout much of its independent history. In today’s security scenario, energy security and foreign policy are separated by a blurry line. Due to this fact, India has seen its links with the West Asian region as a commercial relationship, mainly driven by fl ows of energy. Yet major changes in the West Asian politics especially the Israel factor, demand a new interpretation of the region’s importance to India. Therefore, it’s important to understand India’s strengths and weaknesses in dealing with countries of West Asia and to come up with suggestions for the government to frame a holistic engagement strategy. 34 •West Asia-North Africa Reaching any level of energy security is an epic mission for a nation like India where more than 288 million citizens live under the “energy poverty line” according to the International Energy Agency. Grasping its vitality, India presently uses every mode of yielding energy feasible to accomplish its energy discrepancies. More than 66 percent of the country’s overall viable energy yield is anticipated to be offered by two main fuel sources, coal and fossil fuels. The plenty available coal is getting less cost-effective day by day. And in the case of fossil fuels, the nation has not been blessed with plentiful reserves of it. The demand for oil and gas has already beaten domestic production since decades ago due to its economic and population rise. Today, India imports more than 80 percent (2.6 million BPD(Barrel Per Dollar)) of its oil needs at a fl uctuating cost. The Arab Gulf along with the larger West Asian region is India’s major provider of crude oil. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is India’s solo chief source of oil as of 2017. As Iran is getting free from international embargos, the country might