FB Friends--Energy is going to be the challenge of future, every - TopicsExpress


FB Friends--Energy is going to be the challenge of future, every other issue will pale in comparison, we need to get acquainted with ENERGY, it is said that future wars might be over WATER--the ELIXIR of LIFE---much is happening around us that escapes our notice, lost as we remain in our political issues, forgetting the economic factors, we need to give up the prevalent economic illiteracy and set our priorities, though our permanent political settlement needs to remain in focus, as long conflict resolution evades us: Tuesday GK Column on Asian Energy Market Part of regional security paradigm …emerging regional energy market affecting geopolitical equations Asian countries— South and Central are increasingly viewing energy in overall regional security paradigm. The developing concept has had regional countries addressing, what is fast becoming the prime regional need. Pak- Afghan transit free agreement captioned CASA- 1000 project loops in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan— Central Asian States with large hydroelectric generation potential. The agreement entails supplying Pakistan with 1000 MW electricity. This is expected to bridge roughly 20 percent of Pakistan’s power deficit. The USAID and World Bank are sponsoring the project. The stumbling block in the agreement in focus over a period of time was former President Hamid Karzai’s insistence on 2.5 cents per KW. Ashraf Ghani led presidential administration virtually halved it, holding it at 1.25 cents, with Afghan Finance Minister Dr. Omar Zakhilwal signing the agreement. Hailed by US state department spokesperson as an “ important step” in Pak- Afghan relations, it was a highlighted as “ one of the first foreign policy achievements of the new government of national unity led by President Ashraf Ghani and the Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah.” An indication of the importance Washington attaches to the agreement could be had from the presence of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and the US special representative for Af- Pak-- Dan Feldman. CASA- 1000 is the bye- product of US promoted Turkmenistan- Uzbekistan- Tajikistan- Afghanistan- Pakistan ( TUTAP) concept developed by Asian Development Bank ( ADB) with World Bank support focusing on linking energy starved South Asian states and energy rich Central Asian states. Lacking access to sea, Central Asia has no option but to get linked to neighbouring states. ADB’s ambitious master plan is geared to develop Central Asia South Asia Regional Energy Market ( CASAREM). Apart from hydroelectric resources land locked Central Asia is rich in another cleaner energy source— gas. Looping in regional states in emerging energy market with economic stakes is an American devised strategy to overcome superpower’s inability to provide military solution to Afghan imbroglio. By hiking economic stakes and helping evolve an energy market with financial support by major financial institution, Americans are planning to evolve a high regional profile with minimal military commitment. It could be a game changer. Americans are moving in more than one direction, with a multi- pronged strategy. Afghan watchers are taking note of US efforts to strike an equation between Afghan power contenders— Pakhtoon President Ashraf Ghani and his northern contender— Abdullah Abdullah, already being labeled Ghani’s copilot. Ghani is taken to reciprocate to Pakistan much more than Hamid Karzai tended to. The agreement is taken in support of what the analysts spell. However, in hard nosed diplomacy, Ghani would expect Pakistan to deliver on evolving an Afghan consensus. That translates into a deal with Afghan Taliban. While Pakistani Taliban continues to be a serious contender on home turf, many analysts take Pakistan security establishment’s relationship with Afghan Taliban to be an ace up the sleeve, used to good effect whenever needed, notwithstanding accusations of catering to militant forces. Americans are already taking Ghani to be a safer bet than Hamid Karzai in future regional planning. While US has lost hope for leaving Afghanistan on a high military note, in the changed strategy, linking economies and bringing in major international financial institutions is taken to be a safer bet. Investments to boost weak Af/ Pak/ Central Asian economies by looping in World Bank and ADB is also paving way for developing an alternative energy market, as West Asia is fast turning to be a security risk. The emerging West Asian forces are much more unpredictable than Afghan Taliban ever was. Afghan Taliban has shown a propensity to engage in dialogue, even though it is taken to be a slippery customer. Ghani with American backing might settle for a higher price to provide Afghanistan the much needed stability. With a lower military profile though, Americans are not ready to call it quits. There is a Chinese angle to the equation. While US continues to engage China diplomatically, William Burns Deputy Secretary of States in an address to Asia pacific society in 2014 expressed concern on Chinese muscle flexing in South China Sea, in her eastern waters as well where there are contrary claims of sovereign rights over islands. Russia too was focused on in the address, over her Ukraine moves. However, China is very much visible in Afghan scene with huge investments of course, and on easier terms. Strategic analysts worldwide are increasingly getting interested in Washington’s geo- strategically ambitious New Silk Road idea. Is it rooted in evolving a consensus with China’s Silk Road idea, or stays in contrast, geo- strategic think- tank studies are getting intense by the day. Pak- China strategic equation also figures in overall scenario. In recent months Pak- China deals encompass major energy deals, making energy thrust a multilateral enterprise. Where does India— major South Asian power fit in the equation. India is as much energy starved as any other country in the region, perhaps much more, given her widening industrial base and agricultural potential. Several studies, including one by British Petroleum [ BP] demonstrate that India and China might encounter a hike of two thirds over the present consumption. Whether Asian Energy Market would take shape without India being a part of it are questions that geo- strategic observers worldwide would be interested to look at, in the days to come? Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [ Reunion is subordinate to survival] ASIAN ENERGY DR JAVID IQBAL iqbal. [email protected] gmail. com
Posted on: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 02:56:35 +0000

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