Can Eurasia be the answer to India's energy needs?

Dushanbe: Identifying Eurasia as a panacea for its energy security needs, India today asked its top envoys in the resource-rich region to work on converting their country's "enormous goodwill" into "tangible economic and strategic advantage".

Addressing a conference in the Tajik capital of Indian Heads of Missions of 11 countries in the region, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna underlined the importance of India's 'Connect Central Asia' policy and its engagement with
the strategic region.

 Can Eurasia be the answer to Indias energy needs?

SM Krishna said that Eurasia can help solve India's energy problem.

He emphasised the need of 'Commerce, Connectivity, Consular and Community'- to improve its engagement with the natural-resources-rich region.

"I would urge all of you to ponder over four Cs namely 'Commerce, Connectivity, Consular and Community'–related issues, and initiate innovative solutions with the sole aim of further improving the quality of our engagement with the countries of your accreditation as well as the region," he said.

"I need not emphasise the significance and importance of the Eurasia region for India. As this region undergoes rapid transformation, a time has come for us to evolve calibrated and coordinated responses in our engagement with each of the countries as well as the region to further secure our core national interests," the minister said.

Krishna, who is here on a two-day visit, identified the Eurasia region has the potential of "significantly addressing" India's energy security needs.

Krishna said India's envoys in the region should deploy all available tools "to capitalise on the enormous goodwill that exists for India, and convert it into a tangible economic and strategic advantage".

This was the Sixth Regional Meeting of Heads of Mission that the External Affairs Minister has addressed. In recent months, Krishna has held such meetings of the Indian envoys on a regional basis in Singapore, Cairo, Abu  Dhabi, Madrid and Havana.

Those present in the meeting include Indian Ambassadors to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

"Each country in the region has a unique significance for India. Our policy should be marked by deepening relationships based on political, economic and technical cooperation as a partner, and not merely as an overt contender for the region's hydrocarbon and other resources," he said.

Underlining the importance of such regional meetings, Krishna said such deliberations are "very productive". "These meetings have enabled the Ministry to listen to the perspectives of Ambassadors on the profound and transformative changes that are taking place in the regions concerned, and more importantly the impact of such changes on India," he told ambassadors.

Noting that the two-way trade with the Central Asian countries are of just about $ 500 million which is way below the potential, Krishna said there is considerable ground to cover to enhance economic linkages and elevating the trade with the region, that matches India's cultural and political interaction with this region.

"You need to explore innovative and practical solutions in consultation with the local Governments to overcome the connectivity hurdle," he told ambassadors.

He also said that Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project has made progress and a breakthrough in Central Asian energy market was achieved with the signing of a commercial agreement by ONGC Videsh Limited with the Kazakh State Company for oil block in the Caspian Sea.

"I understand few more such projects are in the pipeline," he said.

Krishna said that as the Central Asia and other CIS economies mature, there is a great potential for India's technology and services sectors to make deeper inroads in the region.

"I understand that a beginning has already been made with the establishment of IT Centres in several countries in the region. Our e-network initiative could become a path-breaking project to deliver modern tele-medicine, and tele-education.

"In the education sector, we hope to set up an India-Central Asia University in Kyrgyzstan," he said.

"We need to robustly deploy the soft power to consolidate the goodwill in all these countries. In this context, IT, Culture, networking with young politicians and academia are a few areas in which you need to become proactive," he told ambassadors.


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Updated Date: Jul 03, 2012 13:36:10 IST