Pipeline politics – A study of India′s proposed cross border gas projects

Energy Policy, Elsevier, September 2013.

Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan, Post Doctoral Associate, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Sanket Sudhir Kulkarni, Ph.D Research Scholar, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Dilip R. Ahuja, Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Energy PolicyIndia′s energy situation is characterized by increasing energy demand, high fossil fuel dependency, large import shares, and significant portion of population deprived of modern energy services. At this juncture, natural gas, being the cleanest fossil fuel with high efficiency and cost effectiveness, is expected to play an important role. India, with only 0.6% of proven world reserves, is not endowed with adequate natural gas domestically. Nevertheless, there are gas reserves in neighbouring regions which gives rise to the prospects of three cross border gas pipeline projects, namely, Iran–Pakistan–India, Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India, and Myanmar–Bangladesh–India. This study is a political analysis of these pipeline projects. First, it provides justification on use of natural gas and promotion of cross border energy trade. Then it examines these three pipeline projects and analyses the security concerns, role of different actors, their positions, shifting goals, and strategies. The study develops scenarios on the basis of changing circumstances and discusses some of the pertinent issues like technology options for underground/underwater pipelines and role of private players. It also explores impact of India′s broader foreign relations and role of SAARC on the future of pipelines and proposes energy induced mutually assured protection (MAP) as a concept for regional security.

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