Game of Succession
Dy NSA Vikram Misri may be next envoy to the US
India’s ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu will retire in January 2023 and the government’s search for his successor has reportedly ended at the National Security Secretariat. Sources said the government has zeroed in on deputy national security advisor Vikram Misri to be India’s next man in Washington. Misri, a 1989 batch IFS officer, has been working as deputy NSA since January 2021. He joined the national security secretariat after completing his term as Ambassador to Beijing where his performance was lauded by India as well as China. He served during the tough times of LAC standoff leading to Galwan clashes, and also during the Coronavirus outbreak. Misri is said to be the man who kept the two sides engaged even at the height of tension on the border. He has served twice in the Prime Minister’s Office and is said to be completely in sync with the present regime’s worldview. Sandhu, who has had a good tenure in Washington, has reportedly been keen to get an extension. He shares an excellent rapport with foreign minister S Jaishankar. But that has not been enough to get him an extension as the government seems to have finalised the name of Misri for the assignment.
Russia, Iran, Qatar may form OPEC-type LNG body
India’s fuel bill is likely to go up. Qatar, which is the biggest supplier of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to India, is reportedly planning to raise the price of the gas. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced European countries to turn to Qatar as an alternative to Russia for gas supplies. The price European nations are paying for Qatar for its gas is much higher than what it is getting from India. Sources said that Qatar is in the process of asking India to agree to a new price, which will be higher than the present price. Qatar holds the world’s third-largest natural gas and oil reserves and is by far the largest supplier of LNG to India. Its supply accounts for more than a third of India’s total gas imports. There are reports that Russia, Iran and some other countries are planning to set up an OPEC-type LNG body and Qatar may join it. The idea behind setting up the association is to regulate gas price. Russia and Iran have already moved ahead and signed an agreement earlier this month for cooperation in the gas sector. The emergence of a gas bloc on the lines of the oil bloc would present a new challenge for India.
Delhi HQ for regional parties with nat’l ambition
At least four regional parties having national ambition are building offices in New Delhi. These are the Bharat Rashtra Samithi of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar and the two opposition parties from Uttar Pradesh — Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. The parties have been allotted land by the central government in the upmarket Vasant Vihar colony. They have started constructions. Among the leaders of four parties, KCR appears really serious about his mission to make his party go national. After renaming his party as Bharat Rashtra Samithi, he is in a rush to have a presence in Delhi. As the Vasant Vihar office is expected to take another year for completion, he has rented a sprawling bungalow in the heart of Lutyens Delhi’s diplomatic enclave at 6, Sardar Patel Marg to turn it into the party’s Delhi office. The BRS’ rented office is next to the bungalow owned by one of the trusts controlled by Mayawati’s BSP. Renovation work is going on at a frenetic pace and the party plans to hold its first press conference there at the beginning of December. The chief minister recently visited the new office to inspect the progress of the work.