16.05.2019

The Indian dailies have commented on India-Iran oil trade. Any major decision on this issue would be taken by the next government. Papers have hailed India’s stance at the recently concluded WTO Ministerial meeting. The Australian government faces a crucial election in light of many domestic issues, say the Indian press.

THE PIONEER in an editorial SLIPPING ON OIL writes Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif may have looked for some middle ground on India’s oil purchases from his country despite US sanctions but we are in no position to commit. Although External Affairs Minister bought time due to the ongoing election process; saying a decision would be taken by the new government, fact is the oil crisis is staring at us. India is yet to draw up a strategy to counter the Trump administration’s decision to cancel waivers from Iran sanctions to countries doing business with it. Given the volume of trade, not one but a multi-pronged solution is the need of the hour. India imports over three-quarters of the oil it consumes, much of it from Iran, even after decreasing its imports from that country. India was the second biggest buyer of Iranian crude oil after China. Which is why Zarif, by reiterating that India is a key strategic partner for his country, hoped that New Delhi would give a commitment on continuing to source at least a small part of India’s oil imports.

THE ECONOMIC TIMES in an editorial DEFEND RULES-BASED MULTILATERALISM says India did well to do its bit to defend the rules-based multilateral trading system, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is under assault from the world’s largest economy, the US, as President Donald Trump resorts to unilateral measures against trading partners in a bid to extract concessions outside the multilateral framework. The meeting of trade ministers of 22 developing countries in Delhi has produced a Delhi Declaration that calls for reinvigorating the multilateral system. A specific focus has been appointing members of the appellate body in the Dispute Settlement Mechanism—the US has been blocking appointment of members to the appellate body.This is the right approach. Also, when India joins other countries to oppose protectionist policies adopted by the US, it should look at its own policies in this area.

THE HINDU in an editorial CHASING STABILITY opines Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have, already scored a political victory ahead of the May 18 election. Few had expected the socially conservative politician to last out the remainder of Parliament’s term when he took over as Prime Minister in August following a coup within the ruling Liberal party. In the past, the country has seen many heads of government toppled. That said, Saturday’s election may not prove an easy ride for the former marketing executive. The polls may not signal an end to the political instability that has dogged Australian politics of late. From combating climate change to shaping energy policy, Mr. Morrison’s Liberal party is a divided house between moderates and conservatives. These differences were manifest in the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull last year and continue to elude a resolution. The world’s driest inhabited continent is confronting its own vulnerability to the effects of global warming. Australia, among the world’s largest wheat exporters, has been forced to take recourse to bulk imports of the grain, consequent to severe droughts in its eastern states over two years. Mr. Morrison, a supporter of coal-generated power, may also find his hard-line stance on immigration difficult to defend in the wake of the terrorist attacks in neighbouring New Zealand.

Script: Padam Singh, AIR: News Analyst