Saudis's double oil exports, want India's help to contain AQ

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Saudi Arabia to double exports of crude oil to India - The National

    Saudi Arabia has agreed to double its crude oil exports to India in a move that would reduce the Asian country's dependence on Iranian crude.

    Annual Indian crude imports from the kingdom could rise to more than 800,000 barrels per day, an Indian official said yesterday in Riyadh on the sidelines of a Saudi energy conference.

    "India appreciates the role of the kingdom as an important and reliable energy partner," said the official, who is on the staff of the Indian embassy in Riyadh.

    "Both countries are also working to diversify their seller-buyer relationship into a strategic energy partnership."

    An Indian-Saudi energy alliance has been in the works for at least 18 months.

    In February last year, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah paid a historic visit to New Delhi, becoming the first Saudi head of state to visit India, which has hostile relations with the kingdom's long-held Muslim ally Pakistan.

    The Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh reciprocated by visiting Riyadh the following month.

    Analysts said Riyadh wanted India's help in containing al Qa'eda activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    They also suggested the kingdom was seeking to weaken its regional rival Iran by supplying crude that India would otherwise need to import from Tehran.

    "Through oil diplomacy, Saudi Arabia hopes to sap Iran of important regional partners, a diplomatic coup the US and other western nations have so far failed to achieve," Aaron Mattis wrote in the Harvard International Review.

    On the other hand, economic imperatives have proved more than sufficient for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil exporters to strengthen trade ties with other rapidly developing Asian nations such as China and South Korea.

    Oil consumption in those countries, along with India, has risen sharply since 2008, even as it has fallen in the developed world.

    By last August, the Saudi-Indian energy initiative was gathering momentum.

    "Opportunities exist to strengthen ties in investment between India and Saudi Arabia," Ali al Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, said on the sidelines of a meeting of Asian oil buyers.

    The kingdom was keen on entering into a 30-year oil supply contract with India, as it had done with several other countries, he added.

    Last February, the Saudi Al Qahtani Sons group formed a joint venture with India's SledgeHammer Oil Tools to build a large manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia for oilfield and drilling equipment.

    "Many companies are looking for joint ventures.

    "Such deals are important for expanding business in India and in Saudi Arabia," said Abdulrahman al Rabiah, the chairman of the Saudi-India Joint Business Council.
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Unless there is a real change of heart, I would not trust the Saudis too much. They can screw india by making india only reliant on the Saudis and then once their agenda is done and they distance India from Iran, they can dictate terms. I really don't think it's a good idea to put too many eggs in the Saudi basket.

    All I can see is that even doubling of oil exports to a booming India will still not make India stop importing from Iran. All the extra Saudi oil will be gobbled up.
     
  4. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yeah, I agree with that, Yusuf. The friend of your enemy is not some one to be trusted or have too much faith in ! We should continue to import oil from both Saudis and the Iranians, so that we can use both of them and not depend on either one.
     
  5. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well the Saudi's have been the largest provider of oil and may well cross the 25% mark. But this doesn't mean that we should not diversify. Not just getting oil from different countries but also alternative sources of energy like LNG, renewable energy, Nuclear energy and also increasing efficiency of the electrical distribution system in India.

    This pie graph shows our dependance on countries for importing oil although its a bit oil
    [​IMG]

    But leaving aside the oil diplomacy stuff, what really interested me was "Analysts said Riyadh wanted India's help in containing al Qa'eda activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

    There have been various reports about India asking the Saudi's for help for our counter terrorism efforts. But this suggests the opposite might also be in play. Not sure how accurate this is but will be something interesting if it is happening.
     
  6. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    @Ejaz the Saudis have two divisions of PA ready in case the yellow matther hit the fan in their Shia Majority Oil rich provinces it was an agreement signed in 1983 i think.The Paks have also transferred nukes to Sauds may be
     
  7. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^^Well what you are saying is all pre-OBL and pre Musharraf stuff really. During the Cold War, Pakistan played a major role in building training and protecting US allies like GCC countries, Jordan e.t.c. But now, there are hardly any Pakistani troops except in the usual officer exchange programs. That is something even we have with most countries including the Saudis. Sure some countries like Bahrain are hiring Pakistani personnel to act as cannon fodder in controlling protests, but that's about it. With the ongoing "Pakistanisation" of Al Qaeda and the Saudis would know more about this, this would be a serious problem for them. Remember that recently a Saudi diplomat was shot in Karachi and the main speculation is it was revenge from some AQ sympathiser. Not to mention the stories going around of AQ cells in PAF and PN and the concern of OBL being hidden by Pakistani officials themselves. The last thing Saudis would want is an AQ cell on Saudi soil in the shape of PAF trainers.

    Wikileaks have already revealed extensively the "overall cooling down of Saudi-Pak" relations as one diplomat called it. Post OBL this was more visible and remember the Saudis are very quiet on any issue.
    The two main threats for the Saudis are (1) AQ and (2) Iran. So the more unstable Pakistan gets and the more radicalised its PA gets, the more concern for the Saudis that Pakistani nukes may be"leaked" to AQ or even some of this tech might be passed on to the Iranians for money. Hence' the Saudis have a strong interest in keeping Pakistan propped up so that it doesn't look to Iran for support.

    Now this is a sticky mess, where India comes in is to act as a security guarantor of sorts. We have good relations with Iran and improving relations with the Saudis and can provide backchannel to them. The only issue is that the Saudis tend to be very realist in their approach, while the Iranians under Ahmedijinad is very ideological. This is leading to some interesting patterns like the Saudis working even with the Israeli intelligence to keep a check on Iranian influence.

    We do know that MMS signed security and intelligence sharing agreements with the Saudis in 2010 but the extent is not known. But there does seem to be a significant increase in this direction. India does have intelligence network in Afghanistan and it would be naive to assume that it does not have a network in Pakistan as well. So a common goal of curtailing AQ would be pretty logical IMO. That is if the trust factor has been built up to a level between both countries.

    Just as an aside, there was an IDSA seminar on the topic of GCC-India defence relations as well http://defenceforumindia.com/foreign-relations/22321-indias-defence-diplomacy-gulf-idsa-seminar.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
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  8. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Our ties ot Saudi can never go to the level promised owing to the nature of these guys. Remember; any ties of Saudi to the world is limited to its royal family only. And the king of KSA lives in a compromise between mullas and Americans. The day, this delicate thread breaks, everything gets screwed.
     
  9. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    @Ejaz Post Jasmine revolution especially the bahrain shia jolt the Saudis are more intrested keeping iran in the dock first and then anything about Pakistan the saudis are having their physicsts at kahuta.Just think of the relation they have
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    why are saudis connecting oil exports and terrorism?? USA has tried to break India-Iranian relations now it seems the Saudis are trying the same.
     
  11. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Saudis themselves fund radical Islam so help to contain AQ is not understandable its a mullahcracy we have nothing in common with those losers.
     
  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Sometimes, the best of relations are between two who have nothing in common!!
     
  13. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well it depends on what type of relation we want to have. Are we trying to "spread democracy" in Saudi Arabia? Are we going to lecture them on Human rights? If yes, then our relationship will be very average.

    If we are willing to be pragmatic and realist, then the relationship can provide dividends to India. Like it or not, the Saudis are the most powerful players in the peninsula and have very close ties to the Americans. They can also provide important counter intelligence information wether it is about anti-India terrorist groups in Pakistan or these groups canvassing funding in GCC countries. Not to mention, that we need to make sure that Chinese involvement in this region does not go beyond economic.

    The Saudis want an external security guarantor, wether its for internal dissent where they would need diplomatic support in the UN e.t.c. or external issues vis a vis Iran. The US currently provides that, in the future India might work in collaboration with the US to do the same. The worse case scenario would be that the US withdraws, we don't step up to the plate and then the Saudis go to Chinese for the same. As this region is in our sphere of influence this is something that should be avoided at all costs.

    Regarding the stability of the regime, that is a very valid point. In othe words, on top of the relationship with the regime we need people-to-people relationship. But in reality with our large diaspora in the region, the Saudi public already has a very favorable opinion of India. Maybe most Indians are unaware but in a Gallup poll taken in 2009, the Saudis had the highest approval rating for Indian leadership in the MENA region even above Israel. This was before MMS quite welcomed visit in 2010. Check out the section for the MENA region here Gallup-poll: India's Leadership Unknown to Much of World
     
  14. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I agree the Iran is probably the most paramount issue rather than AQ in Pakistan. But that is only if you see the two in isolation. There have been OpEd and opinion pieces in GCC journals and papers of how Iran might be provising safe havens to AQ members to later use them to pressure GCC countries in particular Saudi Arabia. For example, some of OBL's wife and kids were in Iran under house arrest. AFP: Osama bin Laden's wife and six children in Iran

    Syed Saleem Shazad was more explicit and actually reported that there was a "deal" between AQ and Iran in April 2010. A very interesting read Asia Times Online :: How Iran and al-Qaeda made a deal

    You can also read this brief primer from the think tank Washington Institute that explores this "possibility" The Iran-al-Qaeda Conundrum

    But even if all these were not true, what really matters is what the Saudis think. And thanks to wikileaks we DO know what they think.
    Full cable here


    Now the nuclear physicists visiting Kahuta is not unexpected. But what is the nature of the relationship? It seems to be possibly just a simple exchange program. Other than possibility of providing nuke warheads to the Saudis, there is nothing that Pakistan could do. And IMO it would be a very stupid move on the part of both which would take some real earth shattering events before it took place. Not to mention that MMS allegedly offered the Saudis co-operation in nuclear power and space technologies among others. We actually had a delegation of Saudis visit ISRO in late 2010 as well.

    The more interesting thing is that the Saudis as well as UAE are planning to build nuke reactors in the coming decades. The Saudis have already declared that 16 reactors will be built and that they are releasing an international tender for it by next year. So why would they need Pakistani expertise for running a nuclear power program after that?

    What we need to understand that if we vacate this space, then you will have the Chinese or other western countries having nuclear co-operation e.t.c. Saudi seen generating power from nuclear in 10 yrs | Reuters
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well the news reports mention that,I don't think there is any conditionality with that. But the Indian-Iranian relationship is very important part of the puzzle. We can't leave or cut of our relationship with Iran. No matter how isolated they become we still need them to maintain the balance in Afghanistan and rebuild Afghanistan into a strong country that can resist Pakistani influence. The other role is the economic and strategic benefits of providing another outlet to energy and minerals from C. Asia and Afghanistan.

    The main question is how successful can we be in redirecting Iran given that we have a very ideological minded person like Ahmedijinad in power. There are some crazy stories about his strong belief in exporting the "Islamic revolution" and creating the ground for the arrival of "Mehdi"/Messiah. So to negotiate with such a president will be hard. But what can be expected is that India uses what ever influence it has to calm the situation now and when a new President like Khatami who is more reasonable comes in power, help in establishing a rapport in the Persian gulf region. India has already held tract II dialogues with participants from GCC, Iraq and Iran and this could be built upon that.

    Cutting of ties from Iran would basically leave China to spread its influence there. And besides, since the US and Saudis are already hostile to Iran, India could act as a honest mediator when the rapprochement comes.
     
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  16. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well I'm not sure what you exactly mean but the Saudis are pretty much mortal enemies of the AQ. The declared aim of OBL was to bring down the house of Saud so pretty much a treasonous act so to speak. You even had the Wahabbi/Salafi ulema who support the Al Saud establishment declaring fatwas that OBL is misguided and that AQ acts are unIslamic e.t.c

    And although the religious establishment has major influence in the state, the King is the head of state and the Al Saud family holds the real power. So its more accurately describes as a Monarchy.

    And Islam in general does not have a history of having Mullacracy or theocracy to be exact where religious leaders are the head of state. Infact, the only two main examples are very recent were you had Mullah Omar as head of state in the Taliban in Afghanistan which ended in 2001 and in Iran where Ayatollah's or shia spiritual leaders are the head of state after the Islamic revolution.

    Hope that helps in clearing up some misconceptions.
     
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