Energy Security Dynamics in India–Australia Relations

Published date01 June 2019
Date01 June 2019
Subject MatterArticles
Department of Political Science, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh, Assam, India.
Department of Political Science, Nowgong College, Gauhati University, Guwahati,
Assam, India.
Corresponding author:
Obja Borah Hazarika, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Dibrugarh
University, Dibrugarh 786004, Assam, India.
Energy Security
Dynamics in India–
Australia Relations
Obja Borah Hazarika1
Sriparna Pathak2
Energy security is integral for the collective progress of any society. Given
India’s growth rate, expected urbanization and infrastructural develop-
ment, and projected demographic expansion, India’s energy demand is
expected to grow manifold. India’s energy needs are met by domestic
production and imports. Both fossil fuels and renewables play a role in
securing India’s energy demands, although the former contributes much
more significantly in the current scheme of things. This article examines
the role of cooperation on energy issues, mainly coal (coking and thermal),
gas, uranium, and solar power in India–Australia ties. It is argued that
given its abundance of fossil fuel reserves and its expertise in harnessing
renewable energy, Australia will emerge as one of the most significant
destinations of energy import and cooperation on issues relating to
energy despite the prevalence of some issues such as environmental
considerations and geographical distance and uncertainties including pace
of reforms in India and unpredictability of prices. The article focuses on
the demand–supply synergy in the energy sector between the two coun-
tries, so as to understand the scope for future collaboration.
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
23(1) 26–47, 2019
2019 Jadavpur University
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/0973598418803480
Hazarika and Pathak 27
India, Australia, energy, cooperation, security
India houses around 18 per cent of the population of the world but uses
only 6 per cent of primary energy in the world (International Energy
Agency [IEA] 2015: 11). India’s economic growth in the past two
decades has been accompanied by a rise in energy consumption needed
to sustain such a growth. It has been estimated that by 2040, India’s
energy demands will more than double due to an economic and demo-
graphic expansion (Ibid.). Continued urbanization, infrastructure
development, vehicle usage, and population growth will ensure that
energy demand continues to be high in India in the years to come. Energy
will also be necessary to ensure that electricity is provided to about 240
million people in India who continue to remain without electricity (Ibid.).
Around 500 million people in India are still dependent on solid biomass
for cooking which signifies that India has a long way to go to ensure
energy security (NITI Aayog 2017: 1). India’s ‘Make in India’ campaign
and ‘24/7 Power for All’ initiatives will impact India’s energy demand
and consumption.
To deal with the increasing challenges, India’s National Energy Policy
of 2017 elucidates four key objectives of India’s energy policy: access at
affordable prices, improved security and independence, greater sustain-
ability, and economic growth (Ibid.: 4). Access to energy resources and
investment in the generation of power will remain important to ensure
the realization of these goals. Given the vast population and rising
demands, India intends to diversify its energy mix and plans to import
energy resources from other countries to meet the challenges.
Primary energy demand by fuel in India according to the 2013 data is
led by coal (44%), followed by biomass (24%), oil (23%), natural gas
(6%), other renewables (2%), and nuclear power (1%) (IEA 2015: 23).
All India Installed Capacity (in MW) of power stations in India as in
2017 was 326,832.53. The share of renewables in this mix stood at
57244.23 (Central Electricity Authority of India 2017). In 2012, 31 per
cent of India’s energy needs were met by imports which have been pre-
dicted to rise to 36–55 per cent by 2040 (NITI Aayog 2017: 3). Last year,
till September 2017, India’s oil imports rose 1.8 per cent to about 4.4

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