India is poised to include Laos in plans for a global electricity grid, in response to an evolving energy security architecture.
The country will present proposals for the grid at the second general assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to be held in New Delhi from October 30 to November 2, Livemint reported.
Apart from Laos, India aims to initially link countries including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
India is now the world’s third-largest electricity producer and is already supplying power to Bangladesh and Nepal while actively calling for countries in South Asia to consolidate efforts to improve energy interconnectivity through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
“We already have electricity grid connectivity with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh,” said India’s Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh, as quoted by Livemint.
“We are looking at furthering these grid connections to the east… After Myanmar, we will go to Thailand. Maybe then you can cross into Cambodia, Laos, and go to Vietnam. So, the possibility is there,” he added.
India’s move is designed to create a new energy security architecture to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative that is aimed at facilitating political and economic cooperation with other nations by connecting them across Asia, Africa, and Europe.
“What we are talking about is a grid connection running east to west or west to east as you have it. If you have that, then you don’t need any storage because the Sun is always shining somewhere,” Singh said.
As a part of efforts to realize its goal, China claims it has greatly improved the economic and social conditions within Laos over the past few years.
The construction of the China-Laos railway is often cited as the first step for China to boost its presence in the landlocked country while improving connectivity with it.