Open Defence of Thesis: "India's Energy Security Concerns and Decision Making: Case Studies of Cross-Border Natural Gas Pipelines" by Mr. Sanket S Kulkarni, 11:30 hrs, NIAS




TitleIndia's Energy Security Concerns and Decision Making: Case Studies of Cross-Border

          Natural Gas Pipelines


Candidate: Mr. Sanket S Kulkarni

                    School of Conflict and Security Studies


Adviser:  Dr. M Mayilvaganan

Date: 20 May 2019,  Monday

Time:  11:30 hrs

Venue:  Lecture Hall, NIAS


Several studies and policy reports in the past have documented and acknowledged the importance of energy security for India’s national development. To ensure an ambitious economic growth and development, a robust energy security decision-making and planning becomes critical. Decision making on energy security is often perceived and studied from the lens of technology and economics. Such studies often ignore the underlying geopolitical factors that play an important role in influencing outcomes of proposed energy projects. More often than not, as seen in the case of cross-border pipeline projects, the underlying geopolitics supersedes other factors such as commercial merit (Masuda, 2007). In case of India, geopolitical changes in its neighborhood and abroad; evolving discourse on clean and sustainable energy; and changing nature of market conditions have a strong and unpredictable influence on India’s energy security. Additionally, the dynamic nature of India’s bilateral relations, presence of non-state actors, geopolitics and influence of external powers in India's neighborhood have made decision making on energy security more complicated and challenging. As India contemplates ways and means to source natural gas from its neighborhood through cross border natural gas pipelines, the study of geopolitics and the influence of the above-mentioned factors on India’s natural gas trade assumes increasing importance. 


Within this context, the doctoral thesis analyses India’s three cross-border natural gas pipeline projects, viz, Myanmar-Bangladesh-India gas pipeline, Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline projects. It explores the rationale behind India's decision making to join or refrain from joining the above-mentioned pipeline projects. Secondly, through these case studies, efforts were made to unravel the role of geopolitics on India’s energy security decision making. Thirdly, by employing the conditions laid by Japanese scholar Tatsuo Masuda (2007), the thesis makes an assessment on the viability and non-viability of the proposed cross-border natural gas pipeline projects. Additionally, by borrowing the framework of Allison and Zelikow's (1999) Rational Actor Model theory, the thesis explores those specific factors that influenced India's decision making on cross-border natural gas pipeline projects. Through the three case studies, the doctoral research demonstrates that while performing a cost-benefit analysis of cross-border energy projects, there is also a need to incorporate geopolitical factors to ensure a more realistic and pragmatic assessment.  The doctoral thesis documents and analyses the role of non-state actors in influencing decision making on India’s energy security. As India expands its energy engagement with its neighborhood, this factor would continue to play a significant role in influencing decision making on future projects. The thesis has also identified the critical role of bilateral relations among individual participating countries as a crucial parameter for the construction and sustainability of cross-border pipeline projects. After perusing through three proposed cross-border natural gas pipeline projects, the thesis examines prospective opportunities for India’s energy security and identifies strategies that a consumer country like India must adopt in order to build sustainable energy linkages for the coming decades. 



All are invited to attend

Monday, May 20, 2019