|Ravi Shankar Prasad ... seeking
security in supplies
Economic growth relies on affordable supplies’Published: Tuesday, 11
March, 2008, 01:48 AM Doha Time
By Ramesh Mathew
Ravi Shankar Prasad ...
seeking security in supplies
ENERGY security involves making energy resources available at affordable
prices for sustainable economic growth, former Indian federal minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said yesterday.
Prasad highlighted this at a presentation on ‘Integrating energy with foreign policy and security’ at the
‘Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future Conference’ in Doha yesterday. The former Indian federal minister for
information and broadcasting, Prasad is the main spokesperson of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Stressing that energy hungry economies like India, China and Japan would continue to rely on Gulf states for
their requirements, with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and UAE jointly holding 70% of the world oil reserves,
Prasad reiterated that “ensuring a peaceful atmosphere here is vital for not only the region but for growing
Strategic Concepts chairman Sean Clery, Economic Strategy Institute
founder and president Clyde Prestowitz, Abdul Aziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg, director, Economic Integration Department
at The Cooperation for the Arab States of the Gulf and Oman’s minister of commerce and industry, Maqbool Ali Sultan
at the session on ‘Creating legal reform and trade registration in the Middle East’. Pictures: Jayaram and T K
The Indian parliamentarian said that West Asia, despite being a region in turmoil, has by and large
been able to meet its obligations.
“So the strategic choice for us now is to extend and enhance co-
operative approach,” which he said can be appreciated by the fact that energy ties now are governed by geo-political
The global energy space, he said, is dominated by USA, which besides being the leading market is
perhaps the only nation to have the capacity to mobilise responses against risks associated with energy
transactions, be it safety of trade route or checkmating terrorists attack.
The speaker said in no
uncertain terms that dependence of the world on oil from the region is likely to increase considerably. “ Asia meets
more than 75% of their requirements from the Gulf region alone,” he said.
Terming natural gas as the
cleanest fuel, Prasad said its share is bound to increase substantially from its present 24% on account of its
increasing availability here, highlighting that India relies heavily on Qatar for its gas requirements.
speaker said India’s huge energy requirements make its foreign policy more relevant. National interest is important
but so is the sensitivity of the country one is engaging with, he said. “Thus engagement would be both bilateral and
The former minister pointed out that it has been proved beyond doubt that India and China
together would be responsible for more than 35% of the world’s energy consumption because of their growing
He said the prospects of the Asian energy market critically hinged upon the dynamics of the
evolving energy relations between India and China.
“Besides the US, India and China are going to become
major energy consumers and as a consequence, they would be key global energy players to influence the world energy
scene,” said the Indian MP.
He said there could be intense competition between India and China for oil and
the Indian anxiety of aggressive Chinese oil diplomacy cannot be underestimated.
“However, the gains are
surely to be more profound if the two countries could synergise their moves and postures and competition is equally
tempered by co-operation,” he said.
Highlighting the adverse aspects of terrorism to the world economic
order, the speaker reiterated that it is neither country- nor region-specific.
Like many other nations,
India too has been a victim of such attacks for so many years. “In recent times, our capitals - commercial (Mumbai),
political (New Delhi), intellectual (Bangalore), economical (Hyderabad) and cultural (Ajmer and Varanasi) have
fallen victims to such barbarous attacks,” said the former minister.
Calling upon the world powers to deal
the issue of terrorism in a frontal and concerted manner, Prasad said they cannot afford to have any compromise on
“Our fight has to be directed not only against those who unleash terror but also against those
powerful interests, which harbour and support terrorist elements for their narrow but ill conceived gains.”