As the west becomes more self-sufficient in the energy sector, there will be an increased burden on India to ensure a secure access to the energy reserves in the Middle East, said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
Ahluwalia was addressing the convocation ceremony of the 125th course of the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla on Friday. Addressing a gathering of about 300 passing out cadets of the NDA, their parents and the academic staff including officers of the armed forces, Ahluwalia emphasized that at such times, India’s defence forces will have to play a more significant role in “safeguarding the country’s energy supplies”.
“For long, the Middle East has been the dominant source of energy for the whole world. (But) the growth of new energy sources in North America has meant that those parts of the world will become more or less energy self-sufficient. Their interests in preserving access to oil supplies will reduce. On the other hand, our import dependence on oil will increase. Especially as our GDP goes up, our growth rate goes up, really, the burden of ensuring that we can have secure access (to energy) will fall much more on us than we have now,” said Ahluwalia.
Though he did not specify, Ahluwalia was referring to the advancements in extraction of shale gas in the US, Canada in the recent past. Interestingly, India’s own ONGC began shale gas explorationon Wednesday.
He said that India’s GDP will be third largest in the world by 2030. “China will be number one, US number two. There is only one superpower today and another one is beginning to catch up. But in the next 20 years, we will certainly have a more multi-polar world. The ability of a superpower to single handedly police the world will be lower,” he said, thus placing the onus of playing a much larger role on India’s defence forces.
“At times when large number of our institutions is coming under question. I am happy to say that our armed forces continue to command admiration,” Ahluwalia said after conferring medals upon the achievers of the passing out course of the NDA. He also stressed upon reducing the dependence on importing defence technology by increasing the ability to “develop technology” within the country.