India, Qatar Broaden Ties Beyond Energy Trade

India, Qatar Broaden Ties Beyond Energy Trade

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.

Beyond relying on nuclear and solar energy, India's climate change mitigation strategy envisions a major switch from oil to less-carbon-intensive natural gas, especially in the transportation sector. For the better part of the past 10 years, New Delhi envisioned Iran as the key international partner in executing this strategy. But given the geopolitical issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program and India's lingering security concerns over a route traversing Pakistan, New Delhi is now looking to Qatar to fill that role, at least for the near-to-medium term. The fact that Qatar has an operational gas-liquefaction terminal -- Iran's is still under construction, with Indian support -- is also a factor in this decision.

India already has locked in supplies of 7.5 million metric tons per annum (mmtpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatari RasGas and has been looking to boost this by an additional 3 mmtpa for the past year. Hamad's recent visit is believed to have resolved a disagreement over pricing that had held up a deal. The Qatari minister of energy and industry, Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, also reportedly assured Indian officials recently that the ongoing negotiations between RasGas and Indian importers will be made a priority. India is now reportedly looking to take overall gas imports from Qatar to the 15 mmtpa level by 2015-2016, a move that will considerably boost overall bilateral trade, which stood at $4.6 billion in 2010, up from $1.2 billion in 2005. India also imported 5.6 million tons of crude oil from Qatar in 2010-2011.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review