عنوان مقاله [English]
Today, energy is considered as one of the most important geopolitical variables in the international system. Energy as the cornerstone of the survival and development of societies in the 21st century with the ever-increasing growth of the world's population, South Asian countries are facing an energy shortage due to the rapidly increasing demand for fossil fuels. Due to the economic and political effects caused by such a shortage, improving the supply of fossil energy is one of the important priorities of regional governments. In this article, the main goal is to examine the role of natural gas export on the development of Iran's regional relations in South Asia. Therefore, the main question raised is what is the role of natural gas export in the development of Iran's regional relations with South Asia? Therefore, with the qualitative method and the nature of the descriptive-analytical method and with the use of library collection tools, as well as with the method of interviewing 15 experts related to the subject, which was done in an estimated and available method with theoretical saturation, the results have been obtained. The results of the research findings show that Iran has not been able to establish strong regional relations with this region due to its favorable geo-economic position, having natural gas resources and the need of South Asian countries for these resources.
Energy as the cornerstone of the survival and development of societies in the 21st century with the ever-increasing growth of the world's population, the economic development of most countries and the rising standard of living is much more important. And energy transfer from energy-rich places to energy-requiring spaces and energy transfer routes to maintain regional and global sovereignty and challenge competitors in the international arena have spatial and geographic dimensions, and for this reason, energy has become an important geopolitical issue. From a geopolitical point of view, the world's top power in the 21st century is the country or countries that have complete control over the world's energy resources. This is despite the fact that the availability of fossil energy resources is not the same in different regions of the world; For example, the Persian Gulf region is very important in terms of oil and gas, while the South Asian region needs these resources. The South Asia region is one of the regions where Iran has a land and water border and territorial continuity with the countries of this region (Afghanistan and Pakistan). Considering the important geographic-geopolitical position of this region, Iran has not been successful in developing regional relations with these countries.
Energy as a geopolitical variable has opened a special place in the power games of the world system and access to energy resources is of strategic importance for all hierarchical levels of world power. The importance of energy includes oil and gas and other carriers of new and fossil energy to such an extent that it has given meaning to the global economy alone and made it more prosperous than other economic components; In the current century, the link between energy and politics has translated into the link between economy and politics. In the last few decades and especially from the 1980s onwards, many countries of the world by adopting the regionalism approach and creating successful experiences in this direction have also provided the ground to encourage other countries in the world to expand regionalism. Regionalism is one of the stages and circuits of diplomacy in order to consolidate the relations between neighboring states which are defined in the middle of political agreements, it is formed and it is transformed by various technical, legal and economic mechanisms.
This article has been conducted with the qualitative method and the nature of the descriptive-analytical method through interviews with 15 experts related to the subject in a theoretical (theoretical saturation) and accessible method. The main question raised is, what is the role of natural gas export on the expansion of Iran's regional relations with South Asia?
In South Asia, there are 8 countries that have special indicators in terms of territory, geography, social, culture, economy and strategy. The natural, human and cultural geography of the South Asian region, diverse models of political management of governments, economic structure and motivations for the development and industrialization of countries in the region are potential capacities for formulating regional policies. All eight countries in South Asia have liquid fuel shortages and are highly dependent on liquid fuel imports (crude oil and/or refined petroleum products). This makes South Asia insecure and vulnerable with a quarter of the world's population. Oil import risks (fluctuations in global oil prices and supply) affect the economies of South Asia and the development activities of its member countries. Except for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, no other country in South Asia has an oil refinery, forcing them to import refined petroleum products instead of crude oil. And Iran, having 812 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, has a total [16%] of the world's reserves of this fossil resource. In the field of natural gas, Iran ranks first in the Middle East and second in the world, so based on current production, its life is estimated to be about 200 years. After 1990, the government started an advanced program to exploit its natural gas reserves. In order to analyze the role of natural gas export on the development of Iran's regional relations in South Asia, interviews with experts were used. In the first step, 74 indicators were extracted from the text of the interviews of the participants in the open interview and initial coding was done. The data obtained from the theme analysis method and the formation of the theme network show that the initial framework for analyzing the role of natural gas export on the development of Iran's regional relations in South Asia has 4 overarching themes, 16 organizing themes and 74 basic themes.
Conclusion and Suggestions
In response to the question raised in this article, it can be concluded that for the expansion of regional relations, what is important is efficient foreign policy and active diplomacy so that a government can achieve the national interests of its respective country. Iran can be more successful in its regional relations due to its abundant energy resources. As a geopolitical region and in need of fossil energy, South Asia has the necessary potential for the development of economic and political relations. Iran also needs to pay attention to the development of regional relations, and according to the potentials that exist in this region, Iran's regional relations can lead to an increase in the level of internal development. In the field of energy geopolitics and energy diplomacy, it is necessary for the country's foreign policy to follow and carry out basic measures. The countries of the South Asian region, except for Pakistan and India, which have natural gas reserves, the rest of the countries do not have natural gas reserves. Also, based on the descriptive findings (interview), the respondents have stated that Iran's need to export gas to South Asian countries, South Asian countries' need for Iranian gas, Iran's special capacity and potential to develop relations, Iran's gas score and the capacity of South Asian countries to Expanding relations with Iran are available opportunities. The territorial geo-economic position of Iran is such that it is considered a special and privileged position in the Middle East. By taking advantage of this position and abundant fossil energy resources, it is possible to succeed in developing regional relations with South Asia. As based on the tables and charts, it can be seen that there are opportunities, strategies, solutions and intervention factors that need to be paid attention to.