The complex geopolitics of India’s growing energy needs

6 Dec 2018

India’s growing energy co-operation with Russia, including proposed Arctic developments, illustrates the considerable geopolitical implications of its vast demand and growing import dependence and include Delhi’s likely role at the centre of climate-focused international diplomacy. India’s ability to achieve optimal economic and strategic outcomes in its growing energy-based ties depends on a range of other factors. They include the extent to which it can effectively participate in international commodity markets and the challenges posed by the corresponding energy-influenced aims of other countries in its orbit, most prominently the United States and China.

Key points:

  • India’s vast energy demand and growing import dependence are creating complex regional and global geopolitical relationships.
  • Growing energy links to Russia are indicative of that trend but are also of potential concern to governments such as the United States.
  • The US sanctions on Iran and a narrow focus on boosting exports have also jeopardised the great potential for productive American energy links with India.
  • Delhi’s energy connections with Beijing are based mostly on competition, though some, albeit complicated, opportunities exist for co-operation, particularly on the infrastructure front.
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