India in talks with IEA for full membership

Ministers from the International Energy Agency’s member countries have begun talks with India on its application to become a full member of the Paris-based agency of 31 nations, IEA said on Wednesday.

(From L) US climate envoy John Kerry, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Executive director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol and French Minister for the Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire attend the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2024 ministerial meeting and 50th Anniversary event, in Paris on February 13.(AFP)

In a statement issued after IEA’s 2024 ministerial meeting in Paris, the agency said the talks with India are in recognition of the country’s “strategic importance” in tackling global energy and climate challenges.

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“The Ministerial gave the IEA a strong mandate to deepen cooperation with major emerging economies. This includes starting discussions with India on its request for full IEA membership,” it added.

India, which joined the IEA as an associate member in 2017, sent a formal request for full membership in October 2023.

“Ministers recognised the ‘strategic importance’ of India in tackling global energy and climate challenges,” IEA said.

Addressing the meeting through video conferencing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

“Sustained growth needs energy security and sustainability,” he said. “I am sure that the IEA will benefit when India plays a bigger role in it.”

India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer, became an associate member of IEA in March 2017 but has had engagements with the agency for long.

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In 2021, India also inked a strategic partnership agreement with the IEA to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability and sustainability.

The IEA is made up of 31 member countries. It also includes eight associate countries. Four countries are seeking accession to full membership, Chile, Colombia, Israel and Lithuania.

For a country to become a full member of the IEA, it must be a member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). IEA also mandates its member nations to hold crude oil and/or product reserves (strategic oil reserves) equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply.

India’s current strategic oil reserves equal 9.5 days of its requirement, and together with storage at refineries and depots, it maintains a stockpile equivalent of 66 days requirement.

IEA members coordinate emergency response measures to a significant global oil supply disruption.

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