It is a great pleasure to welcome you at this very first India-EU Expert Seminar on the evolving role of gas for global low carbon energy security.
In the area of energy, India is a key partner for Europe. As you are aware, our leaders agreed at the EU-India Summit in 2016 on a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership.
Our joint commitment for close cooperation was reconfirmed at the EU-India Summit in October 2017.
Our recent EU strategy on India demonstrates that we consider climate and energy to be a crucial element in our relations with India.
The strategy states that we should continue to implement the EU-India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership and use it as a platform to coordinate multilateral and bilateral approaches to climate change and energy security.
The strategy says that we continue to cooperate towards a clean energy transition, including in the area of offshore wind, solar power, smart grids, energy efficiency, energy access and affordability and climate action.
We also actively support the International Solar Alliance. We signed a joined declaration at COP24 in Katowice aiming at further strengthening our cooperation with this new international organization.
This week has been a good example of our cooperation:
I opened the 2nd EU-India Conference on Advanced Biofuels and the India Smart Utilities Week
At the India Smart Utilities Week we organised EU-India workshops, one on smart grids and one on power market design
Experts from the European Union attended the India Energy Modelling Forum.
We had meetings with the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change and this morning with the Ministry of Power (the first Joint Working Group on smart grids, energy efficiency and electricity markets).
Our objectives strongly converge, both at home and in the international arena. We both want to be less dependent on import of energy, want to diversify our energy sources and secure that our energy is clean, reliable and affordable. Both the EU and India are implementing the Paris Agreement and want to lead in addressing Climate Change.
The energy landscape is changing and governments around the world are looking at cleaner / alternative fuels for a more sustainable economy.
In the context of our objectives to depend less on import, to have a secure and competitive energy market, and to diversify our energy mix and our energy suppliers, it is very topical to have a close look at the role of gas in moving towards a low-carbon economy.
I am very happy that we have managed, working closely with the Independent Energy Policy Institute of Mr Narendra Taneja, to bring together in this seminar, leading Indian and European experts in the area of gas.
This seminar will address our current gas systems, our existing infrastructure and regulatory framework in India and in the European Union and the needs to ensure secure and affordable energy to consumers.
It will look into the existing and possible future gas inter-connections and will assess the possible role of India and the European Union in the global market for LNG.
It will assess the changing landscape, the European Union remaining the largest importer of gas, but the Asia Pacific region accounting for some 85% of the growth in net imports, while facing at the same time major challenges, such as high transportation costs and lack of infrastructure.
I hope that this seminar will enable us to better understand the challenges and opportunities and to identifying possible areas of further bi-lateral cooperation and coordination.
I thank all of you for participating in this event, I thank the organizers for putting this impressive seminar together and I am looking forward to the outcome and concrete recommendations for further cooperation.