June 2015: For Energy Security, India Needs to Go Deeper into Latin America

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a crackling diplomatic pace for his government. Barely two months after being sworn in, he was in Brazil in July 2014, where he met 12 Latin American leaders on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit. This triggered a more active engagement with a region benignly ignored by India despite its huge potential.

India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan made a landmark visit to Mexico and Colombia from May 17-22. Both countries are important sources of India’s crude oil imports. Crude imports from Mexico in 2014 exceeded $3 billion. Imports from Colombia exceeded $2.6 billion. These figures are set to increase. Mexico shares an undersea oil belt with southern USA in the Caribbean. Its hydrocarbons industry was nationalised early in the last century. Its government has opened up this sector last year for the private sector, primarily to attract foreign investment and technology to recover flagging oil production, down from a peak of 3.4 million to 2.5 million barrels per day.