Australia for deeper engagement with India in energy sector
New Delhi: Australia on Tuesday pitched for deeper engagement with India in the energy sector and invited Indian businessmen to tap the investment opportunities in the resource-rich country, particularly in exploration of coal and gas.
Australia's Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson, terming India as one of the largest markets for energy, said both the countries should "maximise" the resource base to benefit each other.
Addressing the fourth Australia-India Roundtable here, Fergusan said India Inc can exploit the opportunities in that country in coal and natural gas sectors.
"The more immediate issue pertaining to India is its energy needs. To actually continue on the projected growth path of 8.3 percent, you need continuous supply of affordable clean energy," he said.
On export of uranium to India, Ferguson said the historic policy change by Australian Labor Party in December 2011 for supply of the yellowcake to India was of major symbolic importance.
Asked when Australia will actually start exporting uranium to India, he said it can be decided once both the governments complete their negotiations on the issue. The ruling Labor party in December last year had decided to overturn a decades-old ban on uranium sale to India.
Quoting the World Energy Report 2012, Ferguson said energy demands are set to rise globally by one-third by 2035 out of which 65 percent will be required by Asia. "India's energy needs by 2035 will be double from what it was in 2010 and it will be the third largest energy consumer by then surpassing Russia."
Terming the energy sector needs both as a challenge and an opportunity, Ferguson asked the Indian private sector to exploit the energy resources in Australia.
"Governments can frame policies, but it's up to the private sector to explore possibilities in the energy sector. Already, companies like GVK and Adani have invested in coal blocks in Australia to fuel their own powerhouses here," he said.
The Resources and Energy Minister also underlined the need for increased research in the energy sector, especially in renewable energy.
"I have met representatives of several companies in this regard and look forward to universities initiating research in this field," Ferguson said.
Asked whether Australia was looking forward to woo Indian youths for job opportunities in that country, he said the government has softened its migration policy to a great extent and Indians today are the "largest and fastest-growing" communities in Australia.
Referring to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's visit here in October, Ferguson said Australia was committed to taking its relationship with India to the next level.