Pakistan’s Energy Crisis and the New Great Game
Centre for Land Warfare Studies, Article No. 2493, November 5, 2013
Sanket Sudhir Kulkarni, Ph.D Research Scholar, National Institute of Advanced Studies
Pakistan’s unique geographical location provides it with an opportunity to tap into the enormous hydrocarbon potential of its immediate neighbours. Currently there are proposals underway to build cross border energy pipelines emanating from Central Asia, West Asia (Iran) and from India. These Oil and Natural Gas Pipelines would ensure for Pakistan transit fees and access to energy resources at affordable prices. Proposals also exist for Pakistan to seek hydro power from neighbouring countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Northern Afghanistan. Such projects can ensure access to electricity for Western and North Western areas of Pakistan. On its eastern front, Pakistan can access electricity and petroleum products from India, thereby ensuring energy sufficiency for its eastern regions like Sindh and Punjab. But given Pakistan’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and its troubled bilateral relations with India, prospects for cross border energy cooperation seems very difficult to achieve. The ‘Generals of Rawalpindi’ must realise that continuation of their age old neighbourhood policies would further worsen the energy crisis at home and isolate the military in the eyes of the public. Hence the question that they need to ask themselves is: Can they really afford to play this New Great Game in Afghanistan and also ensure energy security for their country?