India for strategic partnership with US business for energy security

March 25th, 2009 - 11:46 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Arun Kumar
Washington, March 25 (IANS) India has suggested a strategic partnership between Indian and US business focusing on three Rs - renewables, reusables and recyclables - to meet the twin challenges of climate change action and energy security.

“If energy is not to become a constraint on our growth - the growth of India and the US and the global economy as a whole, then a relatively rapid and significant shift to renewable and non-conventional energy sources becomes inevitable,” Shyam Saran, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, said here Tuesday.

“Both climate change action and energy security dictate this,” he said addressing members of the US India Business Council, a trade association representing 300 of the largest US companies investing in India and global Indian companies.

Even as he was speaking, a US trade mission was in India to discuss business opportunities in the field of solar energy. This was the Obama administration’s first trade mission to India.

The first component of the “strategy for the future, for both Indian and US business is a renewable energy partnership covering different technological pathways and focussing on technology and product development”, Saran said.

India welcomed President Barack Obama’s Renewable Energy Initiative, he said, noting that India was currently in the process of elaborating an ambitious plan for solar energy and was looking at more efficient and commercially viable use of biomass and biofuels.

Thanks to the India-US civil nuclear agreement and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) clearance, India was scaling up its plans for nuclear energy, which will significantly progress within India’s own three-phase nuclear energy programme, which is based on the concept of a closed fuel cycle with minimal waste.

“This is renewable energy par excellence,” Saran said, noting the US too is reviewing its policy on the processing of atomic waste. “We hope that this will be an area we can work together in a practical manner, unburdened of the non-proliferation technicalities of the past.”

Thanks to concerns about global warming and climate change and the related challenge of energy security, the global economy must make, and is already making, a strategic shift from reliance on carbon-based fossil fuels to the progressively greater utilisation of renewable energy sources.

“On the production side, recycling must become an integral part of the business model of the future,” he said, suggesting an India-US partnership on recycling as part of the objective of achieving resource security.

“India and the US have the intellectual and entrepreneurial resources to lead this newly emerging world, if we choose to work together,” Saran said, noting: “A dramatic transformation in Indo-US relations had opened up a wide-ranging spectrum of opportunities for economic partnership.

“The challenge before us now lies in translating these opportunities into practical collaborative partnerships on a scale and of a quality that befits the strategic partnership between our two countries.”

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