ARTICLES

June 26th 2017

Nuclear Deal Puts India, Australia on Path for Expanded Strategic Ties

By Saurav Jha, Sept. 8, 2014

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to India last week highlighted the two countries’ increasingly complementary geoeconomic objectives. The visit saw the conclusion of a much-delayed bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement that paves the way for uranium exports from Australia’s high-quality mines to fuel India’s ambitious nuclear energy plans. While in value terms future Australian uranium exports may not seem like much, they will actually enable India to undertake its next wave of industrialization in a more carbon-competitive manner, and that in turn will fuel massive demand for other Australian mineral exports. The strategic nature of the India-Australia alignment is likely to be rounded up with a maritime cooperation agreement in the near future aimed at securing much of the eastern Indian Ocean for a vastly expanded resource flow of both migrants and materiel.
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For India, Russia, Diversifying Energy Ties a Natural Fit

By Saurav Jha, May 22, 2014

Russia and India are reportedly considering a $30 billion oil pipeline that would transit through China’s Xinjiang province. When seen in the context of other bilateral hydrocarbon initiatives between India and Russia, the discussions, first reported in late March, show that Russia is cultivating India in addition to China as part of its accelerated move away from dependence on European markets amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
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China’s Rare Earths Advantage

By Saurav Jha, April 29, 2014

An adverse WTO ruling will do little to upset the dominance China enjoys in this critical sector. In late March, a dispute settlement panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) found China’s rare earth element (REE) export regulations to be in violation of trade rules and deemed them to be an attempt to “secure preferential use” for domestic firms and to attract foreign investment. The ruling, which China is likely to challenge by May, has already been dismissed as “irrelevant” by the Chinese REE industry, perhaps reflecting the fact that China is the world’s largest consumer of REEs in addition to being the largest producer.
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Asia Turns to North America for LNG

By Saurav Jha, February 27, 2014

Unhappy with oil-linked prices, energy-hungry Asian giants are looking to new gas suppliers. By 2017, a minimum of 10 percent of projected Indian liquefied natural gas (LNG) re-gasification (import) capacity is set to be serviced by the United States. With gas pipeline projects to India’s west unlikely to take off soon, Indian gas importers are on the lookout for further North American LNG supplies, which later in this decade are expected to be cheaper than oil–linked cargo originating from Qatar. Along with Japan, India is also leading an Asian buyers’ consortium to break oil-indexation in the Asian LNG space, which buyers consider a prime factor in making it the world’s most expensive regional gas market. The success of this initiative hinges on the willingness of the U.S. political economy to move more quickly in making greater supplies available to non-free trade agreement (FTA) countries such as India and Japan. The U.S. thereby has to make a strategic call to align with a buyer’s group to allow its LNG exporters to capture market share in the medium term. However, the extent to which Indian gas importers will serve as “anchor buyers” for U.S. LNG will also depend on the growth of a similar relationship with Canada.
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Flush With Gas, Israel Now Must Find Ways to Export It

By Saurav Jha, July 11, 2013

Last month, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to export up to 40 percent of the gas from Israel’s Eastern Mediterranean fields, with expected earnings of up to $60 billion over a 20-year period. This is, however, only the first step toward realizing export revenues from Israel’s gas reserves, a process fraught with complicated choices over the route and destination of those exports. Rather than aiming to use its gas for any great geopolitical gains, Israel currently seems happy to avoid unsettling interested parties while it reaps long-term economic gains from its gas bounty.
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Energy Interests Make India a Player in South China Sea Disputes

By Saurav Jha, Feb. 11, 2013

On India’s Navy Day in December, Indian Chief of Naval Staff D.K. Joshi declared that the Indian navy was prepared to operate in the South China Sea if called upon to do so. The government subsequently downplayed Joshi’s remarks, but the fact remains that the South China Sea has emerged as a vital sea corridor for India, with more than half the country’s trade currently passing through it. The security of the South China Sea will grow even more important to New Delhi in the years to come as India looks to link itself to East Asian supply chains and Indian energy imports through the corridor grow.
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India Tests the Waters of Regional Integration With TAPI

By Saurav Jha, June 6, 2012

In late-May, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan initialed a gas sale and purchase agreement (GSPA) for the long-envisioned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project. The step is being seen regionally as a marker of seriousness for a project that until a few years ago was categorized as a dark horse when compared to the much-touted Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, itself currently on hold due to both Iranian inertia as well as Washington’s firm opposition to the project. For the United States, forward movement on TAPI serves to further isolate Iran from regional integration efforts, while showcasing the potential of its New Silk Road Initiative. However, given the limited amount of gas that India is stipulated to receive once the pipeline becomes a reality, it seems that New Delhi sees TAPI more as a test-bed for energy projects involving Pakistan, as well as a way to contract cheaper gas supplies from Central Asia before they end up being locked in by China.
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To Fix Bleak Energy Outlook, Pakistan Must Look to India

By Saurav Jha, May 9, 2012

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently confirmed that Pakistan’s lackluster economic performance in recent years is essentially a reflection of its ongoing energy crisis. A combination of factors, including an unbalanced power-generating portfolio, the insurgency in Balochistan and natural calamities such as the devastating floods in 2010, have complicated the task of Pakistan’s energy planners.
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India, Qatar Broaden Ties Beyond Energy Trade

By Saurav Jha, April 27, 2012

With the Iran-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline project a casualty of U.S. opposition and persistent mistrust between New Delhi and Islamabad, India has increasingly turned to Qatar to meet its growing natural gas requirements over the past decade. Holding the world's third-largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran, Qatar is a natural choice for such a role. But after the recent visit of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to India, the two states are looking to broaden their economic ties beyond trade in energy. Qatar is set to emerge as a strategic investor in India's infrastructure plans, while India is holding steady on its security guarantees to the Persian Gulf emirate.
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India Takes a Regional Approach to Somali Oil

By Saurav Jha, April 13, 2012

It is no surprise that piracy has steadily climbed up the ranks of threats to India’s security, given India’s energy trade with the Middle East. But now, with vast untapped oil reserves reported in Somalia and just off its coast, piracy emanating from the Horn of Africa is impinging on India’s future energy sourcing opportunities as well.
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Did China Overplay Rare Earth Hand?

By Saurav Jha, November 17, 2010

An alleged halt in rare earth element exports to Japan put world governments on notice. Did China push too hard, too fast? Up until a recent territorial spat between Japan and China, most people probably knew little, if anything, about the 17 elements known collectively as rare earth metals. But news that China had halted exports of these metals to Japan at the height of a row over the detention of a Chinese fishing captain—and Japan’s subsequent capitulation over the issue—have underscored just how economically vital they are.
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Why a US-Vietnam Nuclear Deal?

By Saurav Jha, September 15, 2010

A rising China has pushed the US and Vietnam together. The 123 nuclear agreement could just be the start of warmer ties. The visit of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS George Washington to Vietnam last month was more than just a highly visible symbol of the United States’ re-engagement with its former nemesis. It was, in fact, an indication that Washington is intent on still relying on its ‘4.5 acres of sovereign territory’ in its dealings with Asia, rather than falling back on a G-2 arrangement with China.
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Atomic noughts and crosses

By Saurav Jha, August 17, 2010

The debate on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010 is beginning to resemble the earlier public debates on the Indo-US nuclear deal in terms of being confusing and anachronistic. Once again, detractors seem to lack clarity on the evolution of nuclear liability regimes internationally and the imperatives that have fashioned them. The arguments also forget the context of India's re-engagement with the international nuclear order and its endeavour to harmonise nuclear governance structures with the rest of the world.
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Nuclear Liability Act: Will it scare away the suppliers?

By Saurav Jha, 2010

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill 2010 has now been passed by the Lok Sabha and is set to become an Act in due course. What was meant to be landmark legislation for this country -- and for the most part it still is -- has been marred by the inclusion of certain clauses that are clearly at odds with the overall philosophy behind the bill.
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UAE Nuclear Ambitions Have Washington's Blessings

By Saurav Jha, Oct. 30, 2009

The U.S.-UAE 123 Agreement on civil nuclear cooperation is set to come into force now that the mandatory 90-day period of congressional review has passed. The deal has the firm backing of the Obama administration, which sees it as a model for countries looking to introduce nuclear energy to their territories. For the UAE, the deal represents a reaffirmation of its close ties to the West as well as a gateway to developing a source of energy that, for a number of reasons, makes sense for the Emirates. The third-party beneficiary of the agreement, of course, is France, with its mature nuclear industry and supplier status.
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