Discussion Document – A Survey of India’s Energy Prospects 
in the Middle East Region

A Survey of India’s Energy Prospects in the Middle East Region
Kabir Taneja, Scholar at the Takshashila Institution

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Executive Summary
Oil and natural gas are expected to remain India’s main source of energy in the coming two to three decades, and India needs to steadily increase and secure energy supplies for high economic growth. Due to the lack of significant domestic reserves of oil and natural gas, India has looked towards the geopolitically challenging Middle East region to fulfil its requirements throughout much of its independent history.

This document surveys India’s strengths and weaknesses in dealing with countries of this region. It presents a historical perspective about India’s relations with all the major oil and natural gas rich countries in the Middle East. The aim of this publication is to present the Indian government with options for managing its energy driven relations with the Middle East.

Securing the supplies of oil and natural gas from the Middle East is and will continue to be closely linked with the military security of the region. In today’s security environment, energy security and the military aspect of geo-politics are separated by a blurry line. Hence, India’s stand on energy dealings in the region will be both, a cause and an effect of the geopolitics of the Middle East. In the time to come, New Delhi’s influence in that part of the world will also undergo changes as global shifts in geopolitics and geoeconomics create a new world order.

This study has been organised as follows: Chapter 1 assesses India’s global energy demands. Chapters 2 through 6 individually deal with the geopolitics of a sub-region in the Middle East and its impact on India’s energy situation. These five chapters are arranged in their order of importance for India’s energy security. Chapter 7 looks at the role of mid stream networks like sea lines and pipe lines in securing supplies from the Middle East. Chapter 8 sheds light on the changing role of US as the main security provider in the region. Finally, Chapter 9 puts forward ways in which India can leverage its extremely unique position of ‘not being unfavourable’ to any of the disparate nation-states in this energy-rich region.

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This policy brief can be cited as: Kabir Taneja, “A Survey of India’s Energy Prospects in the Middle East Region”, Takshashila Discussion Document, 2014-S01. (2014) www.takshashila.org.in/1534524506254.