In early June 2018, India received its first consignment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Gazprom. This followed the first ever arrival of an LNG cargo to Indian shores from the United States in March this year. Each occasion found India’s Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Dharmendra Pradhan, in attendance, as if to symbolize that India is engaging both the United States and Russia as part of its agenda to diversify away from acute dependence on OPEC for energy sources. It also means that the United States and Russia, besides vying for a share of the Indian defense market, will now increasingly find themselves in competition for India’s energy pie as well.
Nevertheless, India will seek to keep a balance between the two as far as energy cooperation is concerned, despite any complications that may arise due to the United States bringing into force the Countering Adversaries of America With Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which targets third parties engaging in significant transactions with Russia’s energy and defense sectors. While there are similar motivations for India to build ties with the United States and Russia, respectively, either relationship also brings to the table specific value propositions. Besides, the key reason behind India’s diversification strategy is to enhance its own negotiating clout as a major energy importer, not constrict it. Read More