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15 May 2017

India seeks energy diplomacy to counter China's OBOR

India's push for energy diplomacy

After taking a step back from China's new Silk Road initiative announced by Xi Jinping, India has decided to use its energy diplomacy to create interdependent relationships in its neighbourhood.

India seeks to leverage its advancements in the energy sector and help neighbouring countries improve their energy infrastructure.

The idea envisages multiple energy projects along India's eastern side.

In context

India's push for energy diplomacy

Energy diplomacy is the way forward: India

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said, "We are trying to use energy as a means of diplomacy in a very different way, not only to find overseas sources of hydrocarbons."

Mauritius: A petroleum storage hub?


Mauritius: A petroleum storage hub?

India has sought to use Mauritius as a petroleum bunkering and storage hub in the Indian Ocean. India already supplies petroleum products to the country and has begun constructing storage facilities for petroleum products.

These facilities can be used to augment India's reserves as well as a transit point for trading petroleum products with African nations.

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LNG and gas diplomacy with Indonesia

India is also considering setting up floating regasification units for Indonesia, which could be used to power the several islands that the country is made up of.

In return India seeks LNG engine kits.

Power Ministry Piyush Goyal said India would consider "upgrading of refineries in Indonesia, relocation of gas-based plants from India to Indonesia, sharing of experience in renewable energy in India."


Making a deal with Myanmar

India is already supplying diesel to Myanmar from the Numaligarh refinery in Assam.

India is also considering building an LNG terminal in Sittwe to provide energy products to Myanmar and LNG to Aizawl in Mizoram.

India was also going to begin LPG storage and distribution in Myanmar, but the new government in the country terminated India's contract.


Improving ties with Bangladesh

India and Bangladesh already have several initiatives for energy co-operation.

India has already been working on improving the power infrastructure in Bangladesh. In return Bangladesh allows India to use Bangladesh as transit and even supplies power to India's north-east.

More recently, Bangladesh agreed to provide internet access to India's north-east in return for electricity.

India is also constructing LNG terminals in Bangladesh.

Power relations with Nepal, Bhutan

Nepal, Bhutan

Power relations with Nepal, Bhutan

India, Nepal and Bhutan have long been engaged in energy cooperation.

This is because Bhutan and Nepal have vast untapped hydro-power reserves which India helps them harness.

India's energy infrastructure in these countries have helped them become self-sufficient in electricity needs.

In a recent initiative, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are attempting to share electricity under a multi-lateral agreement.


India seeks to cultivate inter-dependencies

Sources said India is looking to create inter-dependent relations with its neighbours, so that both sides stand a chance at taking away something positive from the deal.

This move is an attempt to woo India's neighbours and prevent them form coming under China's ambit.

The success or failure of CPEC in Pakistan would also define China's role in South Asia.

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