ABOUT THE TOPIC
Since ancient times, India and Africa have had cultural interactions, and in recent years, the relationship has grown in terms of its geo-strategic value and is economically more mature than in the past. Since post-independence, India has been engaging Africa through various diplomatic initiatives, from the non-aligned movement of the 1950s and renewed economic and diplomatic interest in the 1970s to holding the first India-Africa summit in 1980. Following the Cold War, India’s economic reforms further boosted India’s engagement with the African continent. From the initial focus on political issues such as support for decolonisation, it further focused on advanced cooperation in multilateral forums for south-south cooperation, and in the last four decades, economic and security issues have increasingly come to the fore. Three India-Africa summits were held in 2008, 2011 and 2015. India-Africa relations are also growing in the minerals sector, making India a net importer in this sector. India is also Africa’s fourth-largest trading partner. India also actively participates in the infrastructural development of Africa, along with countries like Japan, through initiatives like the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. Engagement with Africa supports India’s global ambitions as New Delhi continues to see itself as an advocate for the Global South. The Africa Union’s official entry into the G20 under India’s presidency is the latest example of Global South cooperation.
As relations grow, India’s engagement with Africa in the future will have to become much more fine-tuned to the various differences among the African states. Enhancing risk mitigation strategies for private sector investments and commercial operations in Africa will be an ongoing challenge for India.
KEY DISCUSSION POINTS
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Amb. Rajiv Bhatia
Former Indian Ambassador (Kenya, South Africa, Lesotho)
Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme at Gateway House
Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia is a member of CII’s International Advisory Council, Trade Policy Council and Africa Committee. He is the Chair of FICCI’s Task Force on Blue Economy and served as Chair of Core Group of Experts on BIMSTEC. He is a founding member of the Kalinga International Foundation and a member of the governing council of Asian Confluence. As Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) from 2012-15, he played a key role in strengthening India’s Track-II research and outreach activities. During a 37-year innings in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), he served as Ambassador to Myanmar and Mexico and as High Commissioner to Kenya, South Africa and Lesotho. He dealt with a part of South Asia, while posted as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. A prolific columnist, he is also a regular speaker on foreign policy and diplomacy in India and abroad. He was Senior Visiting Research Fellow during 2011-13 at the Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Allahabad University.
His first book India in Global Affairs: Perspectives from Sapru House (KW Publishers, 2015) presented a sober and insightful view of India’s contemporary foreign policy. His second book India-Myanmar Relations: Changing contours (Routledge 2016) received critical acclaim. His third book India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons (Routledge 2022) has been receiving positive reviews.
Ms Neelima A, Associate-Research, CPPR
Neelima is a Post Graduate in MA Geopolitics and International Relations from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE). Her interest and expertise are in West Asia, South Asia, Multilateralism and Global and National Security. She has been leading several IR projects in CPPR and is continuously engaged in conducting discussions on relevant IR issues.
KEY INSIGHTS FROM THE DISCUSSION
– Without taking Africa into consideration and elevating our relations with the continent, India will not be able to become an aspiring global power.
– In the future, Africa has the potential to serve as India’s food basket. There is vast potential for collaborative efforts in agriculture to explore and harness. India must thoroughly examine China’s development initiatives in Africa.
– Swift fulfillment of commitments and engagements is a valuable lesson that India can glean from their approach.
– India needs to run its Africa Policy at the continental, regional and individual country levels.
– Understanding and respecting the concerns of the diaspora is important. Diaspora has played a major role in improving economic opportunities between India and Africa.
Event Date and Time: 14th September 2023; 5:00 PM IST
Event Duration: 90 mins
About the Topic
Energy infrastructure is the intricate framework that powers a nation’s growth, encompassing an array of technologies, policies, and networks that enable energy generation, distribution, and consumption. India’s energy landscape is representative of economic, environmental, and political priorities within this dynamic framework. As of FY23, the nation boasts an energy capacity of 416 GW, catering to its burgeoning population and industries. This capacity amalgamates conventional and renewable sources. The initiatives, like the National Action Plan on Climate Change, support the nation’s commitment to cleaner energy alternatives.
Amidst this intricate interplay, the emergence of solar energy infrastructure takes centre stage, casting a radiant light on the nation’s transition towards a greener future. The country’s solar installed capacity was 70.01 GWAC as of June 30, 2023. Solar power generation in India ranked fourth globally in 2021. In FY 2023-24, India plans to issue 40 GW tenders for solar and hybrid projects. India has established nearly 42 solar parks to make land available to the promoters of solar plants. The India Solar Power market size is expected to increase by USD 240.42 billion from 2021 to 2026, at a CAGR of 35.24%.
Solar energy is prominent in the spectrum of renewable energy sources due to its accessibility and scalability. Unlike some alternatives, solar projects can be deployed swiftly, rendering them a potent force in meeting India’s growing energy demands. The inherent decentralisation of solar infrastructure empowers communities and reduces strain on centralised grids.
As India strides purposefully towards a sustainable future, solar energy infrastructure becomes a cornerstone of this transformation. It signifies a change in energy sourcing and a holistic shift in economic growth, environmental stewardship, and geopolitical resilience. With every watt of solar energy harnessed, India illuminates a brighter, cleaner path for future generations.
The solar energy discourse couldn’t be timelier as the planet confronts the twin challenges of energy security and environmental sustainability. The Government has set an ambitious target of having 500 GW of installed renewable energy by 2030, including installing 280 GW of solar power. India’s steadfast commitment to renewable energy, underscored by ambitious targets, demonstrates the country’s resolve to tap into solar power’s potential.
Key Points of Discussion
Dr Madhu P Pillai
Advisor (Special), Industry & Energy, CPPR
Dr Madhu Pillai is a Project Management Expert with more than 38 years of broad-based Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, and Power industry experience in Operations and Project Management in India, Nigeria, the USA, Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Dr Pillai is an Engineer with a post-graduation in Management and a PhD in Strategic Project Management. He is a Fellow of many leading international organisations. Dr Pillai has spoken in more than 40 international conferences and also chaired many. He has also been part of the global director board of many leading non-profit professional organisations.
Adv Megha Arora
Partner, JSA Advocates & Solicitors
Adv Megha primarily focuses on the projects and energy sector and has over 18 years of experience in this vertical. She has assisted clients in all aspects of project development and operations, including setting-up of greenfield and brownfield projects. Her experience includes project/energy related joint ventures, mergers & acquisitions and cross-border investments, bid advisory, and advising on energy/project contracts. In the renewable energy sector Megha regularly advises solar and wind energy players on key legal issues in acquisitions and investments. In the oil & gas sector, she has been involved in advising on the project contracts for India’s key LNG terminals. In the banking and finance sector, she has led several project finance transactions for power, refinery and city gas distribution related projects. In the construction space, Megha has advised on several turnkey projects, infrastructure projects and other heavy engineering works. Her focus areas also include Smart Cities and Urban Infrastructure. Megha is well-positioned to offer clients fully-integrated legal representation as her experience includes representing developers, contractors and project operators, off takers, lenders and sponsors.
Dr Vinod Tiwari
Regional Mentor of Change (Gujarat) India, Atal Innovation Mission Official
Dr Vinod Tiwari served as an Engineering Director of the Telectron Group, a specialised engineering company provider of products and services including designing, installation, testing and storage infrastructure including- Solar Power System, Network power Batteries, Industrial UPS system and DC Power. In 2019, Dr Tiwari got appointed as a ‘Regional – Mentor of Change’ for Gujarat State by NITI Aayog, AIM Team to support the Indian Government flagship initiative of Atal Tinkering Lab. A true veteran in the engineering industry, Dr Tiwari has been leading the UAE market since 2012. His charismatic leadership, technological know-how and operational expertise have transformed the company into a truly significant entity in ADNOC and Telecom Industry. He possesses two and a half decades of a chronicle success thereby having a background of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering. Dr Vinod Tiwari is a sought after Speaker, Educator and Motivator, who conducted more than 130 seminars in India/UAE at various industry forums and conventions. He is known for his multi-faceted personality encompassing leadership, business, social work, philanthropic activities, promotion of culture, education and sports. As an acknowledged technical expert and thought leader in the solar industry innovation, he is also a regular contributor to various industries and is considered an authority in aspects related to power electronics industry. He has also authored a bestselling e-book “From Dreaming to Achieving, in LIFE”.
Dr Debajit Palit
Faculty at NTPC School of Business
Dr Debajit Palit has more than 25 years of experience working in the field of renewable energy and energy transition, clean energy access (SDG7), electricity policy and regulation, rural electrification, decentralised electricity solutions, energy-gender-poverty nexus, and water-energy-food nexus. He has been listed in the Top 2% World’s Scientists (last 3 years in a row) by Stanford University and Elsevier BV. Before joining the NTPC School of Business in April 2022 as faculty, Dr Palit was associated with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), an independent global research and policy think-tank, from 1998 to March 2022.
Dr Palit possesses vast national and international experience, working in projects for UN organisations, Bilateral organisations, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and national governments across 17 countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. He has written widely on energy access and rural electrification issues and has published 3 books and around 145 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, books, and magazines. He is a sought-out speaker on rural energy issues, renewable energy mini-grids – technology and business models, water-energy-food, energy-livelihood, and energy-gender-poverty nexus and has participated in more than 100 national and international conferences and workshops across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Dr Palit is conversant with policy and programme formulation and have been part of various Government of India Committees and National/International Expert Groups on Energy & Rural Electrification and Jury Member for academic & corporate awards.
Dr Palit holds a Master’s degree in Physics and PhD in Energy Policy. The title of his doctoral thesis is “Towards convergence of grid and decentralised electricity solutions for effective rural electrification”.
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