In the past month, Indian diplomacy has been at its sharpest best, it could be argued, in last few years, while dealing with an old friend Russia and the new friend US, and keeping Pakistan at bay. These achievements were as expected.
But beyond that, it was energy diplomacy that was also addressed, as the world braces itself for a rise in oil prices following the drone attack on the Saudi Abqaiq oil facility, which would have a serious impact on Saudi Arabia’s ability to meet the world and India’s demands.
The US has blamed Iran for the attack, but this has been stoutly denied by Tehran. However, the fears of a conflict in the Gulf region, India’s primary source of energy supplies, is likely to get India to look at other sources like Russia. Thus, Mr Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Russia’s energy rich Far Eastern region as the focus of Indo-Russian ties shifts to energy supplies, apart from a long standing defence relationship.
Russian purchase of Essar Oil has given it a USD 13 billion footprint in India’s energy sector, and Indian petrochemical firms have invested USD 7 billion in Russia. And now India will invest in oil and gas fields of Siberia. Clearly Indo-Russian ties now have a new template for bilateral relations beyond their traditional defence engagements.
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