“Energy security is an important area in the Indian policy making domain and energy is an inevitable component of our lifestyle. In the present day, all strata of people are dependent on energy and it is important for leadership to decide on a development model whichbalances carbon reduction and also ensuresaccess to power at an affordable price,” said Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India. He was speaking at the fourth annual conference on Energy Security organised by CII in the capital .
Providing his perspective on how India’s position in the global energy market has changed, he said, “While India is the third largest importer of hydrocarbon products in the world market, gone are the days when India as an importer country was paying an Asian premium for oil imports from the Gulf region. India has been impressing upon the need for a reasonable and responsible price for the hydrocarbon resource in its discussions with the OPEC countries and as a key consuming market, India’s requirements would need to be considered.India has merged as a key market and no hydrocarbon producer in the world can ignore India’s market.
Highlighting India’s role in the SAARC region, he said, “India will be the energy hub of the SAARC countries. We already have a multi-dimensional energy engagement with so many countries-India is supplying energy to Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan and is a major petroleum product supplier to Sri Lanka. We are also interacting with Myanmar on energy security. In a recent development, the foundation stone of the much awaited TAPI pipeline has been laid. This is a symbol of energy security and long term energy cooperation.”
Emphasising on the importance of energy security, Mr Pradhan said, “Undoubtedly, India is a vibrant and dependable market and the role of energy in a vibrant economy is essential.In the recent past,FDI is increasing as investors are looking towards India. We need to capitalise on this opportunity on the path of sustainable development and technology and finance are key enablers which will accelerate our development process. It is critical to draw out a balanced roadmap which takes into account the need for affordability and reliable energy”.
In the course of his opening remarks, Dr Ajay M Gondane, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, said, “The growth of energy consumption has a direct correlation with GDP growth. While the SAARCregion is deficit in resources, there is a lot of potential which is not utilised. For instance, there is enormous hydro potential in Nepal and Bhutan. Energy cooperation is critical for regional cooperation and to realise this potential. Development of the potential and along with that the need to ensure technical back up (evacuation and distribution), the legislative framework required for energy exchange, regulatory authorities-all these key pillars are on the radar at the Ministerial, institutional and working group level.
Empahasising on the importance of regional energy cooperation, Dr Gondane further said, “In fact, a dedicated regional centre of excellence for cooperation in energy has been established in Pakistan and India has played a key role in guiding this institution. The issue of regional energy cooperation has also been raised to the Ministerial level and periodic meetings of energy ministers have been taking place where all SAARC energy ministers deliberated on this subject. In a key development, a regional energy cooperation agreement was inked was signed at the 18thSAARC summit in Nepal. There is a need to push this regional integration as it will help the region to transition to middle income countries and the entire region grows as a whole.
Welcoming all members at the conference Mr Pankaj Sehgal, Managing Director, Cleantech and Renewable Practise, Sun Group, said, “Energy security is important for India as the country needs to be energy independent for securing the energy resources.”