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International Solar Alliance: India's Ambitious 'Power Play' Project

ISA has put India in the spotlight for emerging as the major power player for harnessing Solar energy in the Indian Ocean region along with a strong backing from France



India faces a number of daunting challenges both internally and externally. One challenge which is making India most uncomfortable right now is the rise of China. As it seeks to grow in the same neighbourhood. Although India has been handling the situation very strategically and diplomatically. There is not too much that can be done alone, to resist the gravitational pull China is exerting over the nations in its own backyard.

Now is the time for India, where alliances with traditional partners would prove the most useful. The partnership with Japan has been very successfully established by putting a quadrilateral framework, which is in a robust process.

Launching ISA with France was indeed a strong, and sustainable move to warn all its neighbours that any move to establish supremacy in the Indian Ocean region will not go uncontested.

A chapter added in world history
While New Delhi played the host to the founding conference of the ISA, the world witnessed a history in making.

With the formal launch of the project, India has plans to generate 1000, GW of solar energy and raise 1 trillion dollars by 2030. The leaders have urged the private sector to join hands on the project to make it a success.

"We have to identify the needs of our member countries. We now need a new private sector deal to mobilize the project. We need private investors to reach our target by 2030.We are now creating a momentum and will yield concrete results," said Macron during his address at the ISA.

"We have started world's largest solar power programme in India. With this we will generate 175 GW of energy by 2022 out of which 100 GW will be by Solar Power," PM Modi said.

President of Rwanda, also stressed on the need of public-private partnership in the endeavours to promote solar energy during the ISA.

At present India does not have enough solar power capacity. As per a report from Mercom India. India crossed just over 20 gigawatts of solar energy production in January. Major requirements of the country's energy needs are fulfilled by coal. (about 60 per cent) . Renewable energy only contributes 18 per cent of India's energy demands. While the rest comes from nuclear, biomass and other sources.  

The ISA is open to 121 prospective member countries, most of them located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn as this is the region worldwide with a surplus of bright sunlight for most of the year. So far, however, only 61 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement and 32 have ratified it. This is the first time a world organisation has its secretariat in Delhi, thus India has a stronger and a more significant role to play.

During the conference, India has announced 1.4 billion assistance for developing about 27 solar projects in 15 countries. This in a way is India's strategic use of its foreign policy tour to cement its leadership in the African and Caribbean regions where China has started to assert a strong domination. New Delhi has been very keen on strengthening its ties with the African world. India made a strong statement in this regard when President Ram Nath Kovind chose Djibouti as the first country for his first official visit.  

ISA has put India in the spotlight for emerging as the major power player for harnessing Solar energy in the Indian Ocean region along with a strong backing from France. It is also likely to give India its own identity in this space rather than just being an exporter of Chinese photovoltaic cells.

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