India is undergoing one of the greatest transformations in history. Until the middle of the century, its population is projected to grow by another 300-400 million people. Until 2030, up to 250 million people will be added to its cities, by population growth and migration from the rural to the urban areas. All of these citizens need jobs, housing, mobility, public services. Providing these services is an enormous task. More than 1 million jobs need to be created every month over the next decades. The equivalent of a city like Chicago needs to be built to satisfy the need for additional infrastructure. At the same time, India has promised to contribute to the mitigation of climate change. This means India must master the triple challenge of producing more, cheaper and cleaner energy for all its citizens. Transformations of this magnitude require new technologies, political will and massive investment. In this gigantic race for development, deliverables are needed.

India and the European Union signed a strategic partnership in 2004. Over the last decades, both sides have worked together on a wide variety of issues. Despite this impressive track record of multilateral and bilateral cooperation, there was a certain fatigue in the relationship between India and the European Union. This is why the 13th EU India Summit in March 2016 was so important so as to create new momentum. At the core of the agenda are the EU India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership. Sustainable Energy for All as well as urban development are at the core of the EU-India Agenda for Action-2020. What is needed now is to fill these commitments with life.

Speaking at a High-level Panel Discussion on “Shaping India’s Transformation: Opportunities, Challenges and Potential for Cooperation” H.E. Ambassador Kozlowski, Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan said that the “EU is committed to a credible and long term partnership with India on energy and urbanization. The main approach of the EU for India will include political dialogue for exchange of ideas, access to new technology and international markets and training India financial institutions on efficient utilisation of resources.”

The Panel discussion was organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, India office (FES) and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) and provided political guidance for this long-term dialogue. Shri Ajay Shankar, Former Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, called for “big wins in India Europe partnership on renewable energy. India has the opportunity to leapfrog into a cleaner energy paradigm with the help of new technology”.

Shri Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International talked about the main challenges in building an understanding between society and policy makers about renewable energy projects. He emphasised that top-down approach may not be sustainable and a push from grassroots is required to ensure success of these projects.