The Bold Voice of J&K

Energy quest

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India’s quest for energy access and energy security has driven the Modi government’s foreign policy in four different directions – Gulf, Russia and Central Asia, South America and Africa. This is for the first time Union government has thought of looking beyond the tradition to secure country against the variable prices of fuel especially at a time when there is a fall in prices globally. India being the largest energy gulping country with not much of its domestic production has to import from outside in dollar-rupee term which has resulted in high excise and custom duty making fuel a high cost proposition. Having an effective energy security will help in insulating the country against this fluctuating rupee-dollar relations. Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets ready to embark on his first visit to Saudi Arabia next week, India is making sure it plays the fine geopolitical balance in the region. A strong energy reserve for at least three-month backup would keep the nation on a stable keel economically and can take development to the next level. Saudi Arabia will continue to be India’s largest source of petroleum, and though Riyadh would probably be happy to increase that proportion, India is likely to balance Saudi oil with other sources. Nigeria could pitch for top slot too, having moved up as one of the biggest sources for oil. India’s reserve is slowly being built in Vishakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur. The government wants it ultimately to be able to cover 90 days of oil supply. Besides this India would be tapping alternative source for natural gas. With the sanctions now lifted, India is moving quickly to secure energy sources, and tie up additional elements of a strategic relationship with Iran, even as Saudi Arabia cements its position as India’s top petroleum source. Although the gas field had been offered to India some time back, the western energy sanctions against Iran made this difficult. Despite the move to cleaner renewable energy sources India is committed to add 175 GW in renewable energy to its energy mix, for the foreseeable future, fossil fuels will continue to provide the base load energy.

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