Fuel prices are at an all-time high in India this month, even after the country benefitted from 5 years of low crude oil prices. Amit Bhandari, Fellow, Energy and Environment Studies Programme, explains why fuel prices are high and how the Government of India could have prevented this ongoing crisis.
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India’s investments in energy thus far have concentrated on buying stakes in oilfields in developing countries often at the risk of political unpredictability. With oil prices, and therefore oil company values, falling – India should revise this strategy and aim for better value and lower risk by making investments in companies in the developed world. This paper recommends investing in oil and gas assets in energy-rich developed countries like the U.S., Canada and Australia, to reduce India's vulnerability to future increases in energy prices. These should be made via a sovereign wealth fund (SWF), not the national oil companies. The SWF will be best served by acting as a financial investor, acquiring, only minority stakes, rather than aiming for management control.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial wading into the Punjab farmers' protests has obfuscated the hard work done by diplomats and think tanks on both sides over the past three years, to boost the bilateral. India and Canada have much to gain from each other's strengths in technology, natural resources and investment, and even more if they collaborate internationally to develop an alternative to the current bipolar world order
Both India and Canada have interests in strong multilateral systems. WTO and other institutions help create a network of alliances and norms, essential to function in a global economy. India-Canada should collaborate on developing overarching principles, as neutral third parties to develop broad principles to guide the technology exchange across borders that could act as a beacon similar to the UNDHR document.
In preparing India for its G20 Presidency, domestic standards must be strengthened to reflect globally. The chaotic nature of the Global Digital Infrastructure requires a champion in standard setting and developing regulatory frameworks. India and Canada, both founding members of the Global Partnership on AI with the OECD may influence the multilateral system.
Trade patterns are influenced by geography. To facilitate strong trade relations and strengthen domestic economies, India & Canada must leverage ASEAN through the digital shift and build on beneficial relations with nations amidst the coercive behaviour of hegemonic powers.
Geopolitical shifts during the Covid-era is justifying a closer convergence of national perspectives between India and Canada. It remains now to align the bilateral’s common interests and values, with common goals.
Now that the India-U.S. 2+2 meeting has ended, Indian officials are preparing for a hectic season of summiteering in November, from the SCO to the BRICS and the G20. All will give India global attention, and help the country prepare its positioning at home and abroad.
The Space20 is the newest sub-forum of the G20 initiated by Saudi Arabia, with the support of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. India, on its way to the G20 presidency in 2022, should set a comprehensive Space20 agenda for the democratization of outer space, whereby it can share its space growth story with the developing world and achieve its goal to become a global knowledge epicenter.
The UN turned 75 this year but instead of grand celebrations, the world witnessed an empty UNGA with world leaders addressing it via video screening because of the pandemic. The UN is under unprecedented stress and being shown up for its inability to tackle the challenges of today like the pandemics, climate change, terrorism or global peace and security. The institution's key governing structures, especially the UN Security Council, are inadequate and demand reform. India must now use gritty resolve to ensure its place in these governing structures.