India is destined to become the “epicenter” of the global growth story in the 21st century when Asia would drive the world’s growth, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today. “The microeconomic picture of India is very stable. India is going through a very high growth trajectory. Energy is the primary driving engine of this growth,” Pradhan said during an interaction session at the ongoing CERAWeek 2017, which is being attended by top global leaders from the oil and natural gas industry. “I am expecting this kind of world economy, and with India and Chinese growth, Asia would be the center of the global growth. India would be the epicenter of that growth story,” he said in response to a question from Daniel Yergin of CERAWeek.
“We have to create our ecosystem, a business-friendly environment to compete in this world. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has given us a target that by 2022, India must reduce its import dependency by 10 per cent. We are working on this,” Pradhan said, adding that energy is the primary trigger of India’s aspiration and growth. India is committed to climate change, at the same time Modi is committed to provide energy to all citizens, he said, adding that in the next a few years, India will surpass the consumption rate of entire Europe.
Pradhan said he has invited investors from across the globe and the Indian government is open to fresh ideas and suggestions. “We have a very transparent investment policy. A very business friendly ecosystem we are developing. So (global investors) be part of this growth story,” he said. India is focused to adding another 100 million metric tons in refining capacity as it is creating a pan-India gas network. There will be competition between oil and gas, he said, adding that New Delhi is for sustainable development.
India will continue to depend on coal for its energy requirements, but at the same time, would diversify its energy basket. “Our energy basket would be oil, coal, substantial amount of gas,” Pradhan said. The government is planning to establish the world’s best oil refinery near Mumbai, linked to the world market, and another one in Rajasthan. There are also plan and strategy to look towards requirement of India’s neighbours including Nepal and Bangladesh. India, focused on bio-energy, bio-fuel as part of its climate change commitment, is skipping Euro 5 and by 2020, it will go directly to Euro 6 petroleum fuel, he said.
Noting that there is a consensus that 21st century would be the century of Asia and India is a leader in that, Pradhan said energy is the trigger in India’s growth story. “If we can create an eco-system, we will fulfil our responsibility to the world community as responsible citizens,” he said.