CHENNAI: With the Indian government setting a target of 175 GW of clean energy generation by 2022 and Washington making available a large corpus of funds for investment in the sector, US Ambassador Richard Verma on Monday said clean energy might well become the most critical area of cooperation between the US and India.
Speaking at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, he reiterated the commitment made by Barack Obama during his January visit to India.
“We are committed to sharing our experience, technology and financing to help India meet its aggressive renewable energy targets,” he declared while adding that the US has brought billions of dollars to the table in low cost clean energy financing. “We have even established a joint Indo-US multi-milion dollar fund to support green power to Indian communities,” he said.
The ambassador also stressed the importance of South India in this quest, pointing out Tamil Nadu state’s own amibitious target and further potential. “There is a strong commitment here for clean energy -- the State has twice the installed wind energy capacity as any other State. There is significant solar power potential in TN and Karnataka,” he noted.
According to him civilian nuclear cooperation has moved ahead with the Indian government’s commitment to ratify international convention on liability being channeled to operators and not suppliers.
“We are working closely with the NPCIL to ensure that government-to-government commitments make it into commercial contracts,” he said.
Verma also dwelt on the space India has begun to occupy on the global stage, taking significant steps forward over the last few months.
“This has become the new norm — India as the global strategic, political and economic player,” he said, adding, “our cooperation is no longer confined to South Asia. It is now what I would call a strategic plus.”
While spending some time updating the Indo-US relationship in economy, strategic cooperation and resolution mechanisms, the main purpose of Verma’s visit to the campus was student interaction. The Centre for Innovation (CFI) with student displays on aerospace, robotics and automobiles saw an intense perusal.
“Education is a big pillar of our cooperation. Last year, there were about 1,03,000 students from India who studied in the US. The number of Americans studying here is growing, but the numbers are not where they should be. It’s not a lack of interest, however. We are actually hearing from more students each day who want to study here -- that is a great development,” he said, adding that it makes sense for the two countries to build a rapport not just at the university level but also at the community college and skills training level.