Secretary Mr Pujari, Mr Benerjee, Excellencies, business delegations from UK and India, officials from government of India, from the government of UK, several business representatives from the government companies in India, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. It’s indeed wonderful to see both governments in UK and India working together in this spirit of cooperation and collaboration, particularly, so soon after the announcements made by both Prime Ministers to expand the area of cooperation, particularly, in the field of energy only last August resulting in this UK-India dialogue in April.
It’s great to have you with us your Excellency, and my colleagues and I extend a very very warm welcome to you and to all the other delegates who have come from the United Kingdom to India. At the outset, I pay homage to all the victims of the reprehensible terror attack on 22nd of March, right outside the British Parliament. It’s truly something that India has faced for nearly two decades now. We have also had a very serious attack on our Indian parliament, many many years ago. And the people of India stand in solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom in the fight against terror that the entire global community is collaborating, is working together to once and for all bring an end to this very very serious threat that humanity is facing.
Both the United Kingdom and India are also partnering very closely in addressing the other threat before the world – the threat of climate change, the threat of global warming. Both governments worked together at Paris, the Paris Declaration is testimony to the efforts of the entire world coming together to face this situation. And I am sure, in the years to come, our engagement will expand even further, particularly, in the light of the various steps that both countries are taking to ensure that we leave behind for the next generation a better planet to live in than the one we inherited.
India and the United Kingdom have a lot of potential areas of engagement. We have benefited from technology from the United Kingdom over the last several years, decades, maybe centuries. India has benefited from the people to people engagement with the United Kingdom. We have benefited deeply while firming up our own constitution and the processes around the legal system from the United Kingdom. And on a more personal note, my daughter having studied at the …….. School, right outside your House of Commons of Parliament. And I remember that day, she was the one who was most disturbed when the attack took place in London, even though she has moved on from UK. And on an even more personal note, I miss Hyde Park deeply. I am sure this India-UK Energy dialogue which is oriented towards strengthening this partnership for mutual benefit, for growth, for a better quality of life for the people of both countries to provide business opportunities, as well as create an enabling framework which helps investments flow directions – from India to the United Kingdom and from the United Kingdom to India, which helps technology flourish across the oceans.
And if one was to really capture the essence of this partnership, I think that can only best be understood from the fact that there is a deep trust factor between the two nations. And that trust defines the future as I see it. The fact that governments of both countries trust each other, the fact that the people of both countries trust each other and feel very comfortable when we are doing business, when we are engaging with each other. I think if you walk down the streets of London, and to my mind, I have never had any visit to London where while walking on the streets I have not had 3 or 4 acquaintances whom I bump into. I don’t know whether the same would happen to you in India given the large population we have here.
But truly, Indians feel very comfortable when we are doing business or we are living or working in the United Kingdom. I am sure this partnership in a post-Brexit era can only strengthen further given the high level of engagement that we have already had, both Prime Ministers, of honorable Finance Minister of India and the Chancellor of the Exchequer having an excellent interaction very very recently. The frequent visits that Ministers on both sides have had to further expand the dialogue and exchanges, both political, commercial business, and in terms of international engagement. And then more particularly the fact that India provides a market opportunity for serving a billion plus people to leverage the strengths of UK in terms of your investment capability, in terms of your ability to provide new technologies, and in terms of India’s ability to adopt to those technologies.
In fact, if one was to look at the energy graph of the United Kingdom and India, particularly, given technological advancements and energy efficiency playing an important role in the days to come, I would suspect the consumption of energy, electricity, other forms of powering your economy would actually fall over the next two or three decades in the United Kingdom leveraging on technology, of course. Whereas in India, even as we leverage technology, we will still need to almost quadruple our energy needs in the next 17 or 18 years.
In this scenario, we provide that big opportunity to UK businesses to expand, to expand at scale, to use your technologies at levels which probably you would not have experienced before. In a small way, India has actually moved the needle on the LED revolution worldwide. From a small market share, global market share of .2%, in under two years, India has expanded the use of LEDs in India to almost have a market share anywhere between 12 and 14%, an expansion of probably 100X in two years. And this can be expanded in many other areas. I was looking at our solar expansion where we are looking at growing by about 40 times in a 7 years’ span. We have actually seen 370% growth in the last 3 years, which would give us a CAGR of almost 70-75% for three years. I personally am unhappy with that, I expected more. In Hindi, there is a saying, ye dil maange more, the heart desires for more.
And I think you will agree with me that in government as representatives of the people working to give a better future to our people, we can never rest, we can never be satisfied with what is achieved. We will certainly have to aspire for more and more. And we will certainly have to have a constituency which is looking for more from us. The day our constituents stop expecting more from us, I think we will start losing elections. And, therefore, Minister Clarke and I are both committed to ensuring the success of this engagement between the United Kingdom and India, in ensuring rapid expansion of our dialogue in different areas, in seeing how both sides could benefit from this engagement, and in playing the role of a catalyst to help businesses on both sides flourish, expand the frontiers of opportunity that is available for both businesses, both from India and the United Kingdom.
And I can assure you that both governments are looking at this partnership between the United Kingdom and India becoming one of the most defining partnerships internationally, expanding beyond the realm of business to a strategic partnership to international cooperation on defense, to cooperation on other areas of mutual interests, engaging with each other to help fight the challenges that the world faces today, and energy will be at the fulcrum of that partnership.
I invite businesspersons from both sides to look at this partnership very very seriously, look at this opportunity, cash-in on this opportunity; don’t let this opportunity go by. And I assure you that both countries will provide you enough opportunity to successfully expand your work. I had in my last visit to the United Kingdom envisaged Indian companies from the power sector, particularly, under my charge raising about a billion dollars from the United Kingdom market, more so from the masala bonds side. And one of the discussions where several colleagues from UK and India were present was that unless we scale up this engagement, we really won’t be able to determine the best pricing structure and the best models of raising credit at attractive and affordable prices.
I am happy to share with you that while the NTPC has already raised some amount of money from the United Kingdom last year, we are looking at another round of raising from NTPC. We would be looking at our Energy Efficiency Services Limited, the company which looks after our energy efficiency activities, raising about a $100 million. The IREDA, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Authority, which is equivalent to our green bank, raising a fair share of money in London through green bonds. And, possibly, one or two of our other financial institutions, raising money also in London so that our target is that in the next couple of months we should be able to meet that originally envisaged billion dollar target on masala bonds.
I wish all of these companies well and I do hope investors in the United Kingdom will make it so attractive, the raising so attractive in London, and your financial infrastructure working to help make these offerings seamless and easy to raise funds, so that we can plan the next $10 billion quickly.
Thank you very much.
April 5, 2017 Speaking at “Coal Quality Seminar”, New Delhi