Diplomatist Special Report: West Asia - North Africa 2018 WANA 2018 - Page 35

SPECIAL REPORT possibly become India’s major energy partner in the near future due to its huge natural gas reserves. India’s immense necessity for hydrocarbons and its growing dependency on West Asia has forced the country to diversify its energy sources to regions like Africa and Latin America. India is building deeper relations with countries like Nigeria and Venezuela and trying to capitalize on these regions through fi rms like ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Cooperation) and RIL (Reliance Industries Limited). Other regions where India is seeing to develop its energy aspirations in the future includes the South China Sea region, Australia and even the Arctic. India became an observing member of the Arctic Council in 2013 and has presented interest in uniting with Russia to partake in exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons around the North Pole, which is fast turning ice-free due to global warming. But bureaucratic hurdles and many international issues stand as a blockade to the complete fulfi lment of these diversifi cation initiatives. And thus, it is assessed that India will continue to depend on the West Asian countries for its energy requirements. One country to be given extreme importance while analysing India’s West Asia Policy is Israel, India’s major strategic partner. While India’s relations with the Islamic world is mainly driven by energy, the country’s robust and premeditated relations with Israel is due to the economic, technological and military triumphs of Israel including the infl uence of AIPAC in the US. India has also shown its interest in partnering with Israel in its offshore oil-and-gas exploration blocks including the Leviathan natural gas fi eld, located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea to develop energy ties with the Jewish State. Given India’s traditionally neutral West Asian strategy, India’s growing relations with Israel has not affected India’s Arab links, though a unilateral approach by India in issues like the Palestinian cause may anguish Arab partners, whose cooperation is equally important for India. In this situation, India can carry forward these actions to enhance its energy security strategy and ensure continuous energy fl ow • India’s should improve its foreign presence by recruiting skilled and able personnel including experienced policy analysts in its embassies and missions abroad to ease the policymaking process. • Intensifi cation of direct investments in West Asian energy resources, both at the public and private sector levels. Accelerate earlier assurances of energy cooperation with countries such as Iran and use security and defence accords with these nations to make healthy measures for fortifi cation of these investments. • Enhance energy cooperation with other Asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea etc. Form a cooperative partnership to ensure continuous energy fl ow to the region. One country to be given extreme importance while analysing India’s West Asia Policy is Israel, India’s major strategic partner. • Develop closer ties with countries like Iceland, Israel etc. to develop India’s renewable energy tec