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SOURCE: PTI

The strategic energy partnership between India and America has taken deep roots in a short span of time, India’s top diplomat to the US has said, asserting that this cooperation could energise the economic recovery of both the countries.

The US remained a critical partner for India in meeting the development aspirations of 1.3 billion people, India’s ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said, adding that there was no field of human endeavour where both India and the US are not cooperating.

“However, some of the pillars of bilateral relations have emerged crucial over the years. Energy is one such,” he said while addressing the 2020 Natural Gas Summit which was organised virtually by the US Department of Energy Thursday.

The summit was also addressed by Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and Director of the White House National Economic Council Larry Kudlow.

“In a short span of two years, it is gratifying to know that our strategic energy partnership has taken deep roots. India offers a huge market. Our energy requirement would only increase as we move up the development trajectory under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Sandhu said.

Observing that energy security was vital to India’s national security, he said the United States was abound in energy resources and leading technologies, including natural gas.

“The complementarities and synergies are striking. I also believe that India, US energy partnership can energise the economic recovery in both deletions,” Sandhu said.

India is now the fourth-largest international market for US crude oil and the fifth largest for US LNG. The bilateral hydrocarbon trade has touched $9.2 billion during 2019-20, marking a 93 per cent increase over 2017-18 figures.

The numbers would grow in future with Indian companies entering into more long-term contracts.

“We welcome the entry of US LNG in the global markets as it offers us more diversity in our exports thus augmenting our energy security order. Further, US supplies have enhanced liquidity, flexibility and transparency of the global energy market,” Sandhu said, adding that India remained focused on expediting the development of gas infrastructure across the nation, namely gas pipelines, LNG terminals, city gas distribution networks, biogas projects.

Investment opportunities of over $60 billion in developing gas infrastructure and associated industries have been created, as the government strives towards a gas-based economic system in the country.

“We are developing a one nation one gas grid system,” he said, noting that the share of gas in the overall energy basket was likely to double in the next 10 years.

“To promote the usage of energy in the transport sector, India is looking at developing the LNG retail ecosystem, along with national and state highways in India. There are a lot of opportunities for the US industries out there,” Sandhu said, adding that waste to energy was another focus area for India.

The ambassador said that given the pandemic led supply and demand distortions, the commercial contracts between LNG exporters and importers entered earlier needed to be resilient and adaptive to market realities.

“A timely and appropriate initiative from the US government will go a long way in restoring the confidence of Indian LNG buyers in the US projects, and would help greater LNG import growth in coming years,” he said.