The removal of 11 top ministers in the Riyadh government last week by the young crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, is a geopolitical upheaval, the implications are serious. Domestically, the kingdom is seeking to liberalise its conservative society and move away from oil-dependency – evident from the expected listing of its crown jewel Aramco. For India, which imports oil largely from West Asia, instability could cause a spike in prices, leaving less for its ambitious reforms. Globally, there is now space for new alignments – in the Great Power plays, in the Shia-Sunni rivalry, and in the war on terrorism.
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Trends in technology, geopolitics and geoeconomics have dramatically transformed the global energy scenario in the last two years. This means favourable conditions for import-dependent India, which must use the opportunities available to reduce its vulnerability to high energy prices. The jump in oil prices past the $60 mark suggests that India must act with alacrity. India’s Energy Footprint Map offers a profile of India’s global trade and investment in energy, and indicates what India can do to access cheap and reliable supplies
Aleppo is back under the control of the Syrian government, the Russian ambassador to Ankara is assassinated for his country’s role in Syria, and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wants to cooperate with Russia to fight ISIS in Syria. These momentous events in modern history compel an assessment of the geopolitics surrounding Syria.
The announcement in June of a Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran has to be seen in the context of the strategic dimensions of India’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, and the U.S. And it has far-reaching implications for India’s policy towards West Asia
The fall in oil prices is creating new complexities for the energy exporting economies of West Asia. With smaller profits, these countries may not be able to buy off political dissent at home and fund client governments and rebels abroad. Lower energy prices could also mean a renewed chance for peace
Many Arab Republics are mired in political discord after the departure of the old tyrannical regimes opened up spaces for new struggles. In Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Sudan, attempts to address the turmoil through constitutional reform are facing challenges. Will a democratic federalism be attained when the battles are done?
The rise of the militant ISIS will alter the stability and future of all West Asian countries, and can impact India in multiple ways. India must re-evaluate its West Asia policy, and address the safety of its nationals in Iraq, the security of its oil supplies, and the fallout on South Asia of this resurgence of strife
Despite rising international opposition, U.S. President Barack Obama is ready to penalise the Syrian regime for an alleged chemical attack in Ghouta, Syria, last month. The justifications given by the U.S. for an armed attack are questionable, and such retaliatory action will destabilise the entire region
The Arab uprisings show no sign of closure, and have become amorphous. While New Delhi has so far been immunised from the political and religious dimensions of the uprisings, the rise of political Islam, Islamic governance, and continuing instability will impact India.
With the Free Syrian Army being supplied aid by the West and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the endgame for the Syrian regime has begun. Does Assad's exit guarantee the replacement of autocracy with democracy? What implications will it have on regional politics?