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Modi’s UAE visit a wake-up call for Pakistan: Daily

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Islamabad: A leading Pakistan daily said on Thursday that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE should be a wake-up call to Pakistan as “India is on the move in the region”.

Photo Credit: NDTV
Photo Credit: NDTV

An editorial published in the Dawn said that Modi’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, and the joint statement issued afterwards “should be nothing less than a wake-up call for Pakistan.”

“Both countries have agreed to enhance their economic cooperation and set specific targets, including bringing UAE investment into Indian infrastructure up to $75 billion and raising their bilateral trade by 60 percent in five years,” it said.

The message also to an extent “condemn efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries,” expounding upon this responsibility with a precision that almost betrays a sense of relish with which the words were written.

“The language is being widely interpreted to be pointed towards Pakistan,” said the daily. The editorial said that by itself, the growing closeness between India and the UAE would be cause for more than just alarm.

“But given the diplomatic moves under way in the region it highlights how the conduct of foreign policy is changing in profound ways.” It further added: “…India is on the move in the region, keeping countries as diverse as the UAE, Iran, China and the United States on board as it spins a web of connectivity from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.”

According to the daily, this should be enough to wake Pakistan’s foreign policy community up to the fact that their game has changed fundamentally.

“Lingering territorial disputes are no longer the driving force behind foreign policy. Instead the foreign interests of states are now, more than ever before, viewed through an economic lens. States can be rivals in one sphere and partner in another,” the editorial said.

The daily pointed out, “The game is no longer about pushing a single-agenda item, but the meticulous placement of pieces on an increasingly complex and interconnected chessboard. For Pakistan, remaining wedded to an old foreign policy template developed in the early Cold War years–which saw friends and masters in its search for a big brother who would help solve problems in return for a geopolitical alliance–is no longer a viable option.”

The editorial called for maturity in Pakistan’s foreign policy saying that, “as a thaw with Iran opens up opportunities to the west, and the possibility of building an economic partnership with India to the east–however remote it might seem at the moment–remains a viable foreign policy goal. It’s time to emerge from the old world, and recognise the changes happening in our region before it’s too late.”

With inputs from IANS

Next Story

Does India’s Giant Step in the Direction of Green Energy Signal an End to Coal?

Coal consumption forecasts have already been downgraded significantly from 2013 projections, and major shifts in energy policy like Modi’s are likely to add significant weight to the idea that India might well become a much bigger player in renewable energy production in the next 20 to 30 years

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FILE - Smoke billows from chimneys of the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Dadong, Shanxi province, China. VOA

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced its target to increase India’s renewable energy capacity to an equivalent of 40% of the nation’s total green energy output, it raised eyebrows. Could this mean an end to India’s coking coal industry?

Is there investment for green energy?

For any alternative to coal to be a serious consideration, there must be investment sources. Already India’s renewable target has attracted investors like Japan’s SoftBank, which agreed to a deal to sell power generated from a Northern Indian solar bank at 2.4 rupees per unit – below that of coal power, which currently costs over 3 rupees per unit.

Contrary to the enormous investment in the production of solar panels being manufactured by China, which has made them cheap enough to encourage this Indian growth in solar renewable energy, there has been relatively little investment in Indian coal.

Asia-Pacific
Workers operate machines at a coal mine at Palaran district in Samarinda, Indonesia (VOA)

For instance, state-run NTPC has cancelled several large coal mining projects, including a huge plant in Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, the private sector has continued investing in renewables. Adani Power has over $600 million invested in solar panels in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

That Modi has made an investment of $42 billion in the renewable energy sector over the past four years and his renewables plan is likely to generate a further $80 billion in the green energy sector in the next four years is good news for the Rupee. External investment in India is likely a sign of increased currency transaction in forex trading signalling the Rupee gaining strength against other pairs. Like the Indian economy, millions of dollars are traded on currencies every day, and increased interest in the Rupee helps cement India’s economic and investment potential.

How reliant is India on coal power?

Not so long ago the Indian government had a target to connect 40 million households to the national grid by the end of 2018. It even tasked CIL, the state coal monopoly, to produce over a billion tonnes of coal per year by 2020, an increase of almost 100% from 2016. It’s an ambitious goal, notwithstanding the environmental impacts of mining for such an unprecedented amount of coal. This is the same coal that already generates 70% of India’s primary commercial energy requirement; compare that figure to the UK’s 11%, Germany’s 38%, and China’s 68%, while France has practically shut all of its coal power stations. This means that India’s shift from coal could have important implications for the global climate, and any investors looking towards coal would be making a very brave and risky decision.

Coal
Environmentally, coal isn’t a sustainable source of power, certainly not in current quotas.

The increasing problem with relying on coal

Environmentally, coal isn’t a sustainable source of power, certainly not in current quotas. Clean-up costs could make coal an out-of-date power source sooner rather than later. A report by Oxford University estimated that investors in coal power may lose upwards of half a trillion dollars because assets cannot be profitably run or retired early due to global temperature rises and agreed carbon emission reductions.

Also Read- Oral Antifungal Drug Linked to Risk of Miscarriage

Coal consumption forecasts have already been downgraded significantly from 2013 projections, and major shifts in energy policy like Modi’s are likely to add significant weight to the idea that India might well become a much bigger player in renewable energy production in the next 20 to 30 years – although it’s difficult not to see coal remaining an important power source considering India’s significantly large coal reserves still available in Eastern India.