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1. Non-Traditional Security – An Introduction
The subject of non-traditional security (NTS) gained prominence in strategic discussions only after the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the USSR. Yet it does not mean that the tenets of non-traditional security – ranging from climate change to transnational crime to poverty and gender security – never existed prior to that. So, why has the subject of non-traditional security become so important? The so-called ‘soft’ threats such as hunger and malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water and proper sanitation, as well as endemic diseases kill millions of people around the globe every year, far more than the traditionally perceived threats to security. Energy security constitutes a crucial challenge that shapes and realigns the strategic relationships between countries. It is therefore imperative to focus on these non-traditional security challenges and deal with them effectively in the larger interests of national security. This broad-based approach has prompted the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) and its focus study centre, The Centre for Strategic Studies to conduct in-depth research, analysis and policy studies in an attempt to integrate NTS into major discussions on security and strategy.
With the current Indian government and the international community giving high priority to energy security, CPPR considers it appropriate to discuss and propose a framework for the government to identify, strategize and tackle energy security challenges. The CPPR’s international conference on “Energy Security Challenges – Non Traditional Security Planning in India” proposes to accommodate varied opinions and highlight ways to strengthen strategic planning in the energy domain as a facet of non-traditional security. The conference, supported by the US Consulate, Chennai Region will attract participation by practitioners, academicians, policy makers and energy specialists. The presentations, discussions and deliberations are geared towards adding a new dimension to national security by bringing non-traditional security planning into mainstream discussions on national security.
The strategic linkage between energy resources and comprehensive national security is self-evident. Energy security involves the reliable, stable and sustainable supply of energy at affordable prices and social costs. Energy resources are considered crucial assets for economic, social and military development. Almost every activity that augments a country’s economic and political power is dependent on reliable access to energy and efficient utilization of energy resources. Exploring and implementing long-term sustainable solutions in this complex field are vital to promote peace and economic growth.
India’s fragile energy security is under severe pressure due to several factors: rising dependence on imported oil, regulatory uncertainty, opaque natural gas pricing policies, limited pool of skilled manpower, poorly developed upstream infrastructure and dependence on fossil fuels as the dominant source of energy in the near future. A truly integrated and consistent energy security policy is critical to guide and direct India’s energy sector. CPPR’s international conference on Energy Security Challenges will focus on the following areas:
Although environmental sustainability has only recently emerged as an energy policy issue, the magnitude of energy impacts on environmental systems suggests strong links to energy security. Unchecked growth in fossil energy consumption and the ensuing acceleration in global climate change as well as related air and water pollution constitute threat multipliers that impinge on national security on a global scale. These environmental dimensions are just a subset of a larger array of ecological concerns that threaten energy security including degradation of arable land, dwindling forest cover, and loss of biodiversity. Our burgeoning population with its growing industrial and energy needs makes it imperative to pursue aggressive development while managing emissions growth and promoting cutting-edge clean technology industries. India has been struggling to balance the huge demand for energy with environmental concerns. Confusion has often been manifested in the clearance of energy projects due to stifling opposition, bureaucratic hurdles and the need for Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).
Points to be covered
India’s Future with Alternative Sources of Energy Generation
Renewable energy forms an increasingly important part of India’s energy mix. Given its vast potential, renewable energy is no longer seen as an alternative energy source to conventional energy, but as a critical element in pursuit of key policy objectives (MNRE, 2011a). It enhances India’s energy security by diversifying its energy mix and reducing import dependence on fossil fuels. Solar power, in particular, is viewed as having the potential for India to attain energy independence in the long run. Currently, India is facing challenges in the availability of technology and skills as well as the competency in manpower and service providers needed to provide quality service at a competitive cost. In providing energy access to India’s people, renewable energy is expected to meet basic energy needs, especially in the rural and remote areas.
Points to be covered
India’s energy demands are skyrocketing in line with economic growth. In order to meet the growing demands in the power sector, the Government of India (GoI) plans to induct nuclear plants into the overall energy strategy. Nuclear energy has always featured significantly in discussions on meeting India’s energy needs. The Indo-US nuclear deal was a watershed agreement in this context. However, the deal has yet to be fructified at the desired level. The GoI plan documents envisage having 14,600 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020 and aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050. However, the installation of nuclear plants has run into resistance from the local population at several locations. Environmental issues and nuclear safety concerns are the main stumbling blocks for development of this sector. Recently India has signed a civil nuclear deal with Australia and the future nuclear energy road map looks more promising in this context.
Several policy reform initiatives over the past two decades have shifted India’s energy sector from a predominantly government-owned system towards one based on market principles, offering a more level playing field for both public and private sectors. Political complexities and traditional socialist economic practices have hindered the complete liberalization of India’s energy sector, leading to sub-optimal outcomes in efficiency and the management and pricing of key energy resources. Professional management must be able to operate freely, based on sound market analysis and economic deliberations. The participating entities should be allowed to embrace the latest energy technology and improve their managerial expertise. Effective policy implementation must be made possible through improved bureaucratic and administrative processes in order to ensure timely completion of energy projects.
India still lacks a national energy security agency established on the basis of an Integrated Energy Policy. The Government has adopted a deregulation and liberalization policy, which includes a new exploration licensing policy and dismantling of the administrative pricing mechanism (APM). It should take appropriate legal, fiscal and regulatory steps to create a more attractive environment for foreign investors such as streamlining the license approval process for private power producers, offering more incentives for upstream oil and gas exploration and promoting joint ventures.
The current rigid pricing-setting mechanism, which is de facto determined by the government, is a major impediment to energy security. Regulatory systems based on sound market principles are the need of the hour to operate independently from political influence. End-use pricing should support the government’s policy for demand-side management and facilitate a rational allocation of resources along the value-chain. The power sector faces a shortage of fuels, insufficient infrastructure and financial weakness of state-owned power companies due to distorted pricing mechanisms and systemic weakness in enforcing legitimate revenue realization. The cost-plus principle does not offer incentives to power generation companies to improve and invest in energy efficiency. Poorly targeted subsidy mechanisms, under which power tariffs are kept artificially low, fails to reach the most needy sections of society, while it sends the wrong signals to those who can adjust consumption to price changes.