To feed energy demand, India gets friendly with old adversaries

India’s foreign policy, like that of most every major economic power, is increasingly driven by its need for oil. The globe’s fifth-largest consumer economy, India already imports 70 percent of its oil, and energy demand is expected to nearly double from 2002 levels by 2030. So the country is pursuing arrangements once thought politically impossible with old South Asia adversaries, like a gas pipeline from Iran across Pakistan, and another from Myanmar across Bangladesh. It’s also seeking deals with oil producers, soliciting, for instance, Saudi investment in its oil and gas projects. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to talk nuclear reactors with President Bush during a visit to Washington in July; the U.S. has had a policy of no nuke-technology sales to India since 1998, when India tested a nuclear bomb, but Indian officials are hoping that might change. If conservation is part of India’s plan, no one’s talking it up too loudly.