Iraq Current Affairs
Iraq has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become India’s top crude oil supplier by supplying 38.9 million tonnes (MT) crude oil in the current financial year. It was fifth of the India’s oil needs.
India is 80% dependent on imports to meet its oil needs. India had imported 184.4 MT of crude oil during April-January period of 2017-18 period as compared to 213.9 MT in the entire 2016-17 fiscal, and 202.8 MT in 2015-16.
Saudi Arabia traditionally has been India’s top oil source but Iraq dethroned it. Saudi Arabia supplied 30.9 MT of crude oil in first 10 months of current fiscal. Iran continued to be third largest supplier, selling 18.4 MT during April-January. This is the second year in a row that Iran has occupied the third position. Venezuela is India’s fourth largest supplier with 15.5 MT during April-January, followed by Nigeria with 14.9 MT.
Imports from West Asia
India’s dependence on West Asia for its crude oil needed has increased from 58% in 2014-15 to 63.7% in April-January period of this fiscal. India had imported 109.9 MT out of 189.4 MT of total crude imports in 2014-15 from region. In the current fiscal so far, West Asia has accounted for 117.5 MT of crude oil supplies to India.
Reasons for increase of imports from Iraq
Iraq was able dethrone Saudi Arabia as India’s largest crude oil supplier mainly by supplying heavily discounted crude compared to crude oil sold by Saudi Arabia at Official Selling Price of OPEC. In given time period, prices of crude oil had shot up following production cuts by OPEC members. However, Iraq did not followed the aggressive pricing due to its heavy dependence on oil revenues to fund its economy. Moreover, Indian refiners in recent years have invested heavily in modernising plants to more efficiently process low grade crudes including Basra heavy crude from Iraq, giving greater flexibility in the cost-saving oil grades they can buy.
According to the Country Report on Terrorism released by the US State Department, India witnessed third highest number of terrorist attacks in 2016, more than Pakistan.
The six countries that faced highest number of terrorist attacks in 2016 are Iraq (2,965 terrorist attacks), Afghanistan (1,340), India (927), Pakistan (734), Philippines (482), Nigeria (466).
Key Highlights from report
Several countries that have routinely experienced large numbers of terrorist attacks in recent years observed considerable decreases in total attacks in 2016, compared to 2015. In 2015, Iraq (2418 attacks) and Afghanistan (1708) were ranked first and second respectively, while Pakistan took the third spot (1009 attacks).
The number of terrorist attacks in India in 2016 has increased by 16% and total number of deaths also has increased by 17%. More than half of the terrorist attacks in India in 2016 took place in four states: Jammu and Kashmir (19%), Chhattisgarh (18%), Manipur (12%) and Jharkhand (10%).
This geographic pattern of attacks was relatively stable compared to 2015, with the exception of J&K which experienced an increase of 93% in attacks in 2016. Though India ranked 3rd, the lethality of these terrorists attacks were relatively low compared to other countries that have experienced great deal of terror violence.
On average, terror attacks in India led to 0.4 deaths per attack in 2016, compared to 2.4 deaths per attack worldwide. Nearly three-quarters of attacks at 73% were non-lethal in India in 2016. The majority of attacks in India either involved explosions/bombings at 47% or armed assaults at 18%.
In addition, kidnappings at 15% of all attacks were particularly prevalent in India, compared to 10% worldwide, while facility/infrastructure attacks were at 12% of all attacks, compared to 6% worldwide. The deadliest attack in India in 2016 took place in July 2016, when the Communist Party of India – Maoist (left wing extremists) detonated explosives and opened fire on CRPF personnel in Bihar, killing 16 people including six assailants.