Monday, April 27, 2009

The naivety of the Indian energy policy makers

I just read this news on India proposing a new gas pipeline from Turkmenistan. The country is gas-rich and theoretically has a great potential to abate our energy crisis.

All of the less-informed, low-intellect, mortal, aam-aadmi know that you can NOT trust an Islamic militant country to protect our lifeline. But out dear 'IAS-babus' seem to know better.

I assume that their rational is that economic powers will keep the pipeline safe. But if they could not secure their pipeline to Russia, a fortnight back - I don't see how they can guarantee the safety of this project. Turkmenistan is riddled with foreign policy troubles - being bullied by both US and Russia while it tries to stand up to Russia with US aid. And the fact that it shares a large part of its border and culture with Afghanistan does not sound too well for the prospects of the pipeline. Any pipeline that goes through Afghanistan & Pakistan and comes to India just doesn't feel safe enough.

The incumbent energy policy makers probably were weighing only the economic benefits from the project when they decided to pursue it. But the fact remains that many decisions involve other considerations - especially those taken by extremists, value schadenfreude very highly. And to give them access to something that could staunch our economy seems particularly foolish -if not diabolical.

And aside from the militant threat, we would rather not be the proverbial grass (When two elephants fight, its the grass that gets trampled - African proverb) in the fight between Russia and US over the dominance in the region. US has been trying hard to cut into the soviet dominance in the central Asian region, and Russia is not willing to let go of its strategic buffer. And the fact that we have been "friends" with both of these countries while still managing to keep the other around means that we could be "reprimanded" slightly by either. Though I strongly believe that they would not want to curtail India - We are a big source of income for both the countries. But why give them an opportunity?

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Virgin said...

Nice observation. But you sound closed and communist. If it is safe, form militants (which they cant assure at any level), profiting US or Russia must not be a problem for India. With increasing energy demands to sustain growth India can't afford to be so insecure and closed at this age!

Roni said...

I think that you are being harsh on Muslim nation's . Aggreed that it might be having some internal problem, but that'll solve out whole lot of problems.

Ankit Ashok said...

@ Virgin : Communist is the last think I would like to sound. My thinking is and has always been based on free market economics.

I really don't know what in this post sounded communist to you.

And the fact that India is badly in need of energy right now makes it all the more important that we have a safe energy route. We can not allow miscreants playing with our oxygen pipe.

I too agree that we don't mind EITHER of US or Russia profit from our energy hunger. My concern is what if BOTH want to have a share of that. In an increasingly keenly fought battle over the strategic control over Turkmenistan, We could end up being arm-twisted by both of these.

Ankit Ashok said...

@ Ronak : I wanted to place more emphasis on the word militant rather than Islamic. Sorry if it hurt you or anyone else reading the post.

The fact is that militants(across the world, across timelines) have used some sort of deeper feeling of people to increase their base.
Right now we are observing a proliferation of militant groups based on Islamic religion.

And the idea that we can isolate ourselves from one of our main supplier's problems is just wishful thinking.