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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The GCC finds itself engulfed by a perfect storm – due to the oil price fall and the re-emergence of Iran on the world scene. While the GCC is forced to undertake politically challenging reforms and confront the regional challenge of Iran, there lies a great opportunity for India to strengthen their economic as well as security ties.
Last week, petroleum prices reached a five-year low, and the fall is likely to last as new production and alternative sources enter the market. India, which has a huge petroleum products bill, now has a chance to shock-proof its economy, diversify dependence away from West Asia, and become energy-efficient
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
The growing ISIS-driven violence in Iraq highlights India’s vulnerability to the turmoil in West Asia: we heavily depend on the region for our energy. To insulate the country’s energy security from the upheavals, India must urgently diversify its sources and types of fuel, and develop its own energy ecosystem
An underwater gas pipeline project connecting Oman with India’s west coast is being resurrected. Several factors explain the renewed interest, including the relaxing of sanctions against Iran and India’s need to counter-balance geopolitical and security considerations dogging other land-based projects
The issue of gas pricing is in the public discourse after the Aam Aadmi Party questioned the logic of linking domestic prices to global rates. In the absence of a single global marker price, it is time India, and other large importing countries in Asia, develop a pricing mechanism that reflects regional realities
In recent years, U.S. oil and gas imports have declined due to the development of shale resources in the country. How will the production of shale oil, increase in oil production by non-OPEC countries, supply disruptions in West Asia and economic growth in India and China impact global crude oil prices?
Apart from bilateral ties, also at play at the India-U.S. Strategic dialogue is the difficult triangulation in India’s relations with the U.S. and Iran. It does not serve India to get enmeshed in the U.S-Iran confrontation. Instead, the relationship must develop on the basis of realpolitik and mutual interest.