Desperate to lock up oil supplies and fresh off a smarting Central Asian oil field loss to China, India has signed a deal with Saudi Arabia:

India and Saudi Arabia have signed a deal to develop a strategic energy partnership and have agreed to “fight the menace of terrorism” together… The deal promises to provide India with a “reliable, stable and increased volume” of crude oil supplies…

Saudi Arabia currently supplies nearly 175 million barrels of crude oil a year – a quarter of India’s oil needs. India imports 70% of its supplies and is currently exploring fresh supplies from Central Asia to South America. [Link]


p>Meanwhile, the Saudi government continues to fund madrassas in Pakistan which churn out militants for Al-Qaeda and Kashmir:

Since the1980s, Pakistan’s education ministry has depended solely on the tuition-free madrassa system of religious education, funded by Saudi Arabia and other orthodox Sunnis, to see a large number of poor Pakistani children get to school. The theocratic education of Pakistan’s orthodox madrassas was tailored to produce the leaders of the Taliban movement. The madrassas also produced the Sunni militants and others who protected the anti-American Taliban and al-Qaeda militants… [Asia Times – author also writes for Indian defense publications]

Zahidullah, 31, a grad student in Islamic law at the Bahrul Uloom madrassa in Pakistan’s northern mountains, boasts of how many recruits he has gained for the outlawed Kashmiri guerrilla force Harkatul Mujahedin: “Many youths here are anxious to join the jihad when I tell them stories of our heroic Islamic resistance against Indian aggression…”

In recent months, thousands of young Afghan men have swarmed to madrassas just inside Pakistan… On the Afghan side, meanwhile, the influx of madrassa students and graduates has helped to produce Taliban battle units as large as 100 fighters, where a year ago the guerrillas were mustering squads of barely a half-dozen men. [Link]


p>The madrassas are popular because the military-controlled government spends far more on bombs than brains:

… Pakistan desperately needs its madrassas. Without them, an estimated 1.5 million young Pakistanis would get no formal education at all. According to a recent analysis by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Pakistan spends only 2.2 percent of its GDP on public education, the tiniest share for any country in South or Southeast Asia. [Link]


p>In comparison, India spends around 4% of its GDP on public education while the U.S. spends just under 7%. Of course, this was all done with U.S. approval to fight the Soviets:

After promoting militant orthodox Islam in the 1980s, with the help of Saudi Arabia, to expedite disintegration of the former Soviet Union and save the “free world”, Washington set about to “fix” Pakistan’s education system… Musharraf had no intention of making any wholesale changes, and, in fact, last week permission was given to open new madrassas in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP)…

Pakistan’s Sunni militants… work hand-in-glove with the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia. In fact, the political arm of the Sunni militants in Pakistan, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JII) and its student wing Islamic Jamiat Tulaba (IJT), are financed generously from Saudi Arabia. [Asia Times – author also writes for Indian defense publications]

So now both India and the U.S. are paying for the bullets and bombs which kill their own citizens, until their leaders get serious about non-petrolic transport, and the U.S. gets serious about democracy rather than compliant client states.

In the meantime, the private sector is taking the lead. The same foundation which funded the first private suborbital flight is planning to put a bounty on energy-efficient transport (via Slashdot):

In 2004, a $10 million X Prize purse was won by back-to-back flights of a piloted SpaceShipOne rocket plane from Mojave, California to the edge of space. Now the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit-education organization based in Santa Monica, California is setting it sights on other frontiers…

For the automotive prize, the focus is on breakthroughs in areas like miles per gallon and manufacturing. “Why do we still drive cars that use an internal combustion engine and only get 30 miles per gallon? I think that we’ll see some amazing achievements in this area,” Diamandis predicted. [Link]

Related post: Midnight’s oil

59 thoughts on “Coopetition

  1. President George W Bush has warned the US must break its “addiction” to oil, in his State of the Union address. He said the US was too reliant on oil, often from “unstable” countries, and had to find alternatives. In his televised, prime-time address, Mr Bush described the nation’s dependence on imported oil as “a serious problem”. “The best way to break this addiction is through technology,” he said, pledging to seek a 22% increase in funding for clean energy research, including nuclear and renewable energy. He said he was aiming for a 75% cut in US oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. [Link]

    Funny, when the left says this stuff, the right criticizes it. When the President says it, the right stays mum. For what it’s worth – I think it’s a simplistic thesis and a simplistic solution. Parts of it are valid and true, and parts of it are full of —–.

  2. OTOH, here’s one very interesting tech solution – flying windmills:

    According to their figures, one flying windmill rated at 240kW with rotor diameters of 35 feet could generate power for less than two cents per kilowatt hour–that would make them the cheapest power source in the world. For greater power needs, several units would be operated in the same location–Sky Windpower says that an installation “rated at 2.81 megawatts flying at a typical U.S. site with an eighty percent capacity factor projects a life cycle cost per kilowatt hour at 1.4 cents.” [Link]
  3. I was furious about Bush continuing his sabre rattling towards Iran. He said something to the effect that people of Iran need to be free. WTF? Didnt they become free from a US puppet rule of the Shah of Iran?

    Anyways, I get riled up about this, because the empty rhetoric towards Iran doesnt do anything but elevate the supply concern in the world Oil futures. As it is 15-20$ price per barrel is due to the “supply concerns”. Well, I got most of my money invested in US stocks.. I cant have OIL at $90 and US economy tanking 😉

  4. I was furious about Bush continuing his sabre rattling towards Iran. He said something to the effect that people of Iran need to be free. WTF? Didnt they become free from a US puppet rule of the Shah of Iran?

    The US also helped overthrow the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. Actually, Britain was the main instigator here as Mossadegh wanted to have access to the records of the British Oil Company profits in Iran (the Iranians were not allowed that!) and re-negotiate the royalties on Oil. So Britain feeded Eisenhower with the ‘communist take over’ of Iran angle, so that the CIA could get involved in the overthrow of the government.

  5. Manish: Dude, I have more chips on my shoulder about more things in the numberless universes than your minuscule imagination can prepare to contemplate (as Krishna once remarked, offhand, to Arjuna). At least, I think you were talking to me, though you started out quoting Kush and then switched to me.

    You and I can sensibly disagree about shutting down places where terrorist recruiters gather (you think it will help, I think they will go somewhere else – but then the proof of the pudding in each case is in the regurgiation). What we cannot reconcile is your apparent feeling that the Indian government should practice achuthya against the Saudis because, as you say, they fund madrasas. Only Islamophobia can possibly justify such an outrageous, bass ackwards, policy. What do you suggest India do, squeeze the Saudis where it hurts by stopping all oil purchases to drive down world prices? Why do you even want to hurt the Saudis when you know what the alternatives in the Islamic world are? I mean, the only credible opposition to the House of Sa’ud in the Nejd is currently fronted by Osama bin Laden. What exactly are you trying to sell, Manish?

  6. .. because, as you say, they fund madrasas.

    No, because they knowingly fund terrorists.

    What do you suggest India do… What exactly are you trying to sell…

    See post.

    … the only credible opposition to the House of Sa’ud in the Nejd is currently fronted by Osama bin Laden.

    Because dictatorships and oligarchies have shut down all opposition political parties except the Islamist ones, which they can’t because they live under the shield of being nominally Islamic governments. This is why Hamas won. The U.S. has consistently backed these states rather than democracy due to its dependence on oil.

  7. Hi Manish:

    I’m totally with you, dude. Let’s not have any truck with people who fund terrorists. Let us cleanse ourselves of all dealings with them and work to obliterate their name from this planet.

    In solidarity with this movement I am returning my Indian passport to the local consulate. Once stateless, I shall join in the Global Jihad against People who Fund Terrorists, ie. against the Indian government, the US government, and any other sort of government.

    I hope you will join me in this crusade, brother. Send your passport back to those Contra funding swine in the White House today.

  8. What a wonderful idea. And after returning our passports let’s empty our savings accounts and send them to the Saudi royal family, the guardians of all that is true and good in Islam and personal models of asceticism and sobriety.