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.
OPEC’s announcement of a cut in oil production shows that Saudi Arabia is being affected by low oil prices even as Iran gains ground
Iran has emerged on to the world stage after 36 years of isolation. India must double up its diplomacy and commercial engagement with Iran, and move boldly beyond the curtain of ‘civilisational’ ties. Time to put that natural advantage to good commercial use through a vigorous private sector engagement with Tehran.
The strategic and geopolitical importance of Iran’s Chabahar Port is not lost on India. It is for this reason that India is keen to partner with Iran on investing in developing berths at the Port. Although the relationship between the two have had its ups and downs, it is time that with a nuclear deal in place between Iran and the P5+1, India realises that it has much more at stake in its relationship with Tehran.
The nuclear deal with Iran benefits India and Pakistan in terms of energy security and connectivity. But both countries also face challenges in their prospective engagement with Tehran, and both will have to tread carefully while using the new opportunities.
A journey which began in Istanbul in 2012 ended in triumph in Vienna in July 2014, as the P5+1 countries and Iran announced a Joint Plan of Comprehensive action that would see Iran free of all economic sanctions while upholding the right to a civil nuclear programme. While this journey, fraught with challenges, technically is over, the ratification battle in the U.S. congress commences now
Amit Bhandari, energy and environment fellow, speaks to Dev Lewis, Gateway House, on the impact of the Iran deal on global energy markets. He also outlines why this is a window of opportunity for Indian business
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