India inaugurates Energy Office in Moscow, takes lead in energy diplomacy

India scissored the ribbon of the Energy Office in Moscow’s Federation tower. The inauguration witnessed the presence of visiting secretary, Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Gas, Tarun Kapoor, Indian envoy to Russia D Bala Venkatesh Varma and Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia, Pavel Sorokin along with India’s 5 main PSUs -ONGC Videsh Limited, Oil India Limited, GAIL(India), Indian Oil Corporation and Engineers India. The Indian secretary applauded the scaling up of bilateral investment and trade. “We already have a big collaboration with the Russian federation. Big investments have been made by Indian companies in Russia, and big investments have been made by Russian companies in India. Bilateral trade has also grown,” Tarun Kapoor said.

The Energy diplomacy between New Delhi and Moscow decodes the need of the current exigencies for both countries to alter their sources of energy needs. It is evident that India is heavily dependent on West Asia for its giant energy appetite, (it imports around 80% of oil from West Asia) and with the stiff sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, the OPEC Countries are establishing their monopoly over oil prices. Hence, Russian support will play a crucial factor in determining India’s stable energy future.

In recent times, Russo- Indian ties deteriorated after the USA’s sanctions on Russia, which aroused a dilemma in India’s foreign policy. But this strategic move has vivified the age-old relations between New Delhi and Moscow. New Delhi values Moscow as its part and parcel historic partner when it comes to strengthening its energy ties. India holds investment worth 15 billion $ in Russian oil and gas assets. In the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit, both Countries released a Joint statement on cooperation in the Hydrocarbon sector for 2019-2024.

Indian envoy to Russia D Bala Venkatesh Varma termed it as “a huge step in our energy future “energy vertical is now one of the most promising pillars of our special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia…India stands firmly with Russia in promoting its energy security and this is a strong message we want to give, including via the opening of this office” he added further. The Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin expressed his optimism about growing Russo Indian ties. “We hope it will be a new step and open the flow of investments in the country which is already in tens of billions of dollars” and will help us “drive new projects in the energy space…we hope to continue to work together,” he added.

The Indian Public sector companies have been in search of incentives to diversify their imports for oil and gas and the emerging cooperative scenario offers this opportunity. In 2018-19 the Ministry of Petroleum added Russia as a new source for long term LNG imports. Both countries have been looking for different avenues to expand their oil and gas exploration measures. Nayara Energy, a Russian gas exploration company that operates under Rosneft has given a push to improve and increase Vadinar refinery’s capacity by two-fold and expand its retail presence across India. In recent times, Russo- Indian ties deteriorated after the USA’s sanctions on Russia, which aroused a dilemma in India’s foreign policy. But India managed to withstand the tough phase and this strategic move has vivified the age-old relations between New Delhi and Moscow.

In the current scenario, India is witnessing a huge surge in oil prices which offers an opportunity to explore the feasibility of a gas-based economy, and this energy diplomacy is a step ahead in this vision. The strengthening of their Nuclear ties and further Russian emphasis on Indian companies for developing projects in the far East and Arctic for shipping oil, gas and coking coal to India signifies a positive scenario. The balance of power and stability in the Asian region is highly dependent on Moscow’s neutrality and robust Russo-Indian relationship. Hence both the Asian giants need to explore different mechanisms to strengthen their strategic relationships and unleash peace and prosperity in the region. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Surya Prakash

Surya Prakash Singh is a Journalism Intern at The Kootneeti

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