‘Energy will boost up?India’s leadership role’

India’s scientist of international repute, who was recently bestowed with ‘Bharat Gaurav’ and ‘Hind Rattan’ awards, believes that the country has done wonders in a host of avenues but lags behind in investing in academics and building an indigenous infrastructure where its prized talent could be absorbed.

By Ishtiaq Ali Mehkri

Published: Mon 7 Feb 2011, 9:26 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Feb 2020, 3:11 PM

Khaleej Times managed to dwell into Dr Syed Mumtaz Hyder Abedi’s views as he made a stopover in Dubai on his way back from Delhi. The gentle and soft-spoken NRI strongly believes that energy constraints will reshape priorities of development and investment, and is ultimately bound to have an impact on foreign relations.
Abedi said while India churns out some of the best professionals every year from its universities, it has to forego them to greener pastures abroad in search for better job opportunities.
“It is here that the catch comes. If India can diversify its academic investment and make room for building industries and centres of excellence where they could be better employed, the brain drain could be easilty stemmed.”
Though a geophysicist associated with the petroleum industry for long, he is not lost on making an opinion when it comes to policy-making on this vital sector. He is convinced that Iraq will be calling the geo-economic shots in the Middle East, and coupled with it is the newly discovered Qatar oil and gas wells. This duo is the new lifeline of politics and economy in the region, and will keep other oil producing countries on tenterhooks, as Saudi Arabia, Iran and a host of Arab-Muslim countries will remain preoccupied with their exhausting black gold reservoirs in the next few decades.
This is why, Abedi confirms, India is the only developing country that is engaged in worldwide research for energy exploration, and is tapping into avenues where it could compliment extraction by virtue of its technological knowhow. He is quick to add that India is merely in the shadows of great economies such as China and the West, who have made it a point to make their presence felt in Africa to benefit from its sizzling reserves of oil and gas both on-and off shore cavities.
To a question, the learned geophysicist convincingly elaborates that it is no more a myth that the United States will not tap its indigenous oil reserves flowing abundantly in its Alaska and the frozen South Canada basin, but will do so only after dwelling into the impact it will have on its environment. The oil genie says that acquiring oil from the Middle East will always remain a cheaper option for the West, and bring with it geopolitical muscles of world leadership. “The only emerging concern for the West will be when Russia starts tapping into its lower basin and the Caucasus for oil and gas, and inevitably reaching out to Europe with a cobweb of pipeline arteries. The world energy graph will then be up for a remake”, Abedi points out.
Without any reservations, the man who is admired for rightly equating India’s energy needs, Abedi says that the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is a must and vested interests have derailed it for obvious reasons. He said nothing but politics hinders its takeoff, and adds that the moment India and Pakistan can rightfully comes to senses on regional indispensability; this grand initiative of $7.6 billion will get rolling.
His firm word on India-United States nuclear deal is quite telling. He paints a wider canvas to prove that Washington’s intention is to slowdown China’s growth and development pattern; and this is why it feels like patting India with deals and concessions. With India being the world’s highest consumer along with an open market economy, it merits a special place in the roadmap of America in the new century. “A time will come when the US will look and rely on India, and it is here when China will wither out of US scheme of things — geopolitically pushing Beijing and Delhi in unique and unending complications.”
The scientist warns that it’s high time to start preparing for the generational change in energy needs and its utilisation mechanisms. He puts in a word of praise and appreciates the wisdom exhibited by the United Arab Emirates as it had kick-started a research and diversification strategy on renewable energy sources in Abu Dhabi. “Striking a delicate balance between depleting reserves and discovering new means of energy is unavoidable, and it is a good sign that many of the Gulf countries are realising this without much ado”.
India with a growing population and overwhelming energy requirements has to lead from the front, and ensure that technological advancements gradually overcome the conventional approach of demand and supplies. “It is in need of policies that should motivate and mobilise the NRIs to relocate their talent and treasures back into the country. A billion-plus population simply cannot rest in inertia,” Abedi cautions.

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