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Deft diplomacy but show autonomy of decision making – Dr Gupta

US$75+/barrel crude risky, says DBS


US$75+/barrel crude risky, says DBS


Arvind Gupta

India will have to play deft diplomacy in managing relations with Iran and the United States as well as demonstrate strategic autonomy of decision making in handling Washington-imposed sanction on Iranian oil.

“We have to play a very deft diplomacy here. The Americans will have to be told,” said Dr Arvind Gupta, Director at the Vivekananda International Foundation and a former Deputy National Security Advisor (2014-17).

“It is how we maintain our relationship with Iran and how does India show its strategic autonomy of decision making,” underlined Dr Gupta of the response to the United States.

To meet its insatiable energy demand, India imports more than 80% of crude oil. Iran is the third largest supplier after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Indian refineries have invested in refining processes which were previously designed to process heavy sweet crude oil from Iran and Venezuela.

Though global crude prices are off highs on assurances of sufficient supply to compensate for a fall in Iranian exports, along with a surprising increase in US oil inventories, Singapore’s DBS Bank has cautioned in its 2 May market report: “A break above US$75 per barrel in oil is a risk for the Indian markets.”

“Iran is very important (to India). It is very important for us to access to Central Asia,” stressed Dr Gupta, adding “Afghanistan is very important (too). America knows about it.”

Discussing his book “How India Manages its National Security” in Singapore on 2 May 2019, Dr Gupta pointed out that Washington was putting so much focus on India for its Indo-Pacific strategy which seeks peaceful oceans for trade prosperity and act as a check against China’s rhetoric domination of South China Sea.

“I think we will be able to do that tight rope walking,” believes Dr Gupta during his talk at the Institute of South Asian Studies, a think-tank at the National University of Singapore.

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