Cooperation in the field of clean energy is a common factor linking Modi’s visits to China, Mongolia and South Korea. Amit Bhandari, energy and environment studies fellow at Gateway House, comments on the clean energy agreements with all three countries.
“A common thread running through Prime Minister Modi’s three-nation visit to China, Mongolia and South Korea is clean energy. India has entered into agreements on solar power with China, nuclear fuel supply with Mongolia, and LNG shipbuilding with South Korea – all with the aim of reducing India’s dependence on coal, and moving towards a more responsible development path.
In China, companies from both countries signed four key agreements to set up facilities to manufacture solar photovoltaic (PV) cells in India. China is the leader in manufacturing solar PV cells, and India needs local manufacturing to meet the nation’s target of setting up solar power plants of 100,000 mw by 2022. However, quality complaints in the past about solar panels and other power equipment imported from China will need to be addressed in order to move forward.
Mongolia has significant reserves of uranium – it can be a stable supplier of nuclear fuel for India, which is trying to scale-up its nuclear power program. India has sought similar partnerships with Canada, Russia and Uzbekistan. However, Mongolia has not started mining uranium yet, so it could be a few years until it begins to supply nuclear fuel to India.
In South Korea, the prime minister invited investments in shipbuilding, including LNG tankers. These tankers are needed if India wants to scale-up imports of natural gas – a cleaner fuel compared to coal or petroleum. For a robust partnership, South Korean firms will need to share their shipbuilding know-how, which they were reluctant to do in the past.”
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