Thursday, July 18, 2019

Energy key to luring India into US Indo-Pacific strategy

Way back in 2010 we posted "India Orders Firms to "Scour the Earth" for Energy Supplies as President Obama Heads Over". For India, energy really is the key.
From Asia Times:
When Narendra Modi was sworn in for a second term as prime minister of India, it became time for the Indian government to address issues that had been postponed until after the general election. America’s cancellation of sanctions waivers on India’s import of Iranian oil was one such issue.
India’s non-alignment strategy of previous years has shifted to a more multi-alignment strategy, with the Modi administration driving a hard line for its strategic interests. New Delhi’s ties with Tehran have strengthened even while India pursues relationships with Iran’s adversaries in the region such as Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Its recent decision to continue buying oil from Iran using the already established mechanism of rial-rupee trade reaffirms Modi’s multi-alignment strategy.

However, this strategy could become a thorn in the side of the US-India relationship, and it would be in Washington’s and New Delhi’s interests to re-evaluate this dynamic through a mutually beneficial venture. The Indo-Pacific region might present that opportunity through energy trade.

The Indo-Pacific region’s increasing dominance in global energy demands and capacity to shape international relationships makes it a key market for energy. Recognizing this, the administration of US President Donald Trump has been swift to make energy the central economic component of its “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy – an effort to defend a rules-based order in concert with democratic partners – a significant part of the US policy toward Asia. It underscores America’s commitment to strengthening energy security in the region, with India being a major partner.

India has been reliant on autocratic nations for its energy needs. Importing 80% of its crude oil and 45% of its natural gas, India’s energy dependency has shaped its ties to resource-rich nations including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela. With the Trump administration’s recent decision to end the waiver for US sanctions on Iranian crude-oil sales to India, New Delhi’s regional ambitions are hindered and further distance India from America’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region....MUCH MORE
As noted in the wrapper around that long-ago post:

...I have a hunch that American schoolkids today will be hearing a lot about the Indian Ocean before they graduate and might even be able to find it on a map.*
*I mean come on, just look at the land masses that border it:

Map of Indian Ocean