Weighing India's Pipeline Deal with Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shakes hands with Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee during a meeting on February 7, 2007 to discuss a gas pipeline from oil- and gas-rich Iran to energy-starved India. (AFP/Getty Images)

MUMBAI, August 20, 2008 – Senior researcher and lecturer Marie Lall said that India’s foreign policy priorities have shifted because of the increasing need for energy resources to fuel its growth. While speaking at the British Council in Mumbai, Dr. Lall talked about this issue in the context of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, the US-Indo nuclear deals, and India-Myanmar relations.

Dr.Lall said that India's need for gas is immense, and the pipeline is a more beneficial undertaking than the nuclear deal, despite the factt hat the Americans are unhappy with the potential partnership. In her view, the creation of the pipeline will also be crucial in creating stability in the region by making all the countries involved interdependent.

Regarding the US-Indo nuclear deal, Dr. Lall believes that this has little to do with energy, and is more a means through which India can gain “great power status” and reverse its “pariah” status as a nuclear power. She is wary of the deal, however, as she feels that India and America’s priorities conflict.

Dr. Lall ended by discussing relations between India and Myanmar. The Chinese presence in Burma has limited India’s influence, she said, and India has been unable to tap into Myanmar's gas resources, where as China has moved rapidly and decisively to extend its sphere of influence there.

For more on each of these topics, please read Dr. Lall's working papers (in PDF format) below:

India’s new foreign policy—the journey from moral nonalignment to the nuclear deal

Political Economy of Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) Gas Pipeline

India-Myanmar Relations – Geopolitics and Energy in Light of the New Balance of Power in Asia

Reported by Purwa Bansod, Asia Society India Centre