Iran-India Energy Cooperation Opens New Horizons

Under such a scenario, MEIDP could help India satisfy a significant portion of its increasing hunger for natural gas. India could also save about $1.50 to $2 per million British thermal units once liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports are replaced by gas supplied through MEIDP; this would result in a significant windfall.

MEIDP holds several benefits, including security incentives. For instance, TAPI traverses Afghanistan and Pakistan before reaching India. The current security situation in Afghanistan is not encouraging, especially after the recent clashes between government forces and the Taliban, in addition to the confrontations between the Islamic State and the Taliban and local tribes.

This situation has made India feel the need for a more secure route — and the undersea MEIDP is the best option. Moreover, MEIDP bypasses Pakistan, too. Although the TAPI route runs south of the unstable South Waziristan tribal agency in Pakistan, there is no guarantee that al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and Pakistani Taliban won’t attack the pipeline. TAPI also would go through Balochistan province, which has been hit by severe clashes between Pakistani government forces and Balochi nationalist militia ever since Pakistan’s founding in 1947.

MEIDP would also help India diversify its energy supplies. While supply diversification is universally sought, it has become even more urgent among energy consumers after the recent clashes between Russia and Turkey. Once Russia imposed sanctions against Turkey as a result of the downing of a Russian warplane, the Turkish government started to negotiate with Israel, Qatar and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq to replace Russia, which supplies 57% of Turkey’s natural gas imports. Similarly, the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline is a project that attempts to reduce European countries’ dependency on Russian gas. It appears that India has learned from Turkey’s and Europe’s lessons and is trying to avoid over-reliance on a single supplier.

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