How Renewables are Shaping the India-China Relationship
Energy security and climate change intersect foreign policy at the juncture of national security. India and China, as the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), have committed to global climate change mitigation by announcing a substantial upscaling of renewable energy (RE) in their total energy mix. China, however, continues to dominate the production chains for rare earths, minerals like lithium and cobalt, and low-cost RE technologies. This Policy Brief explores the evolution of RE supply and value chains and how their increasing vulnerability impacts energy security, against the backdrop of the deteriorating India-China bilateral relationship. It addresses the following question: How do ongoing efforts at scaling the use of RE in India and China, within the context of climate change mitigation and bilateral competition, impact the overall RE security landscape and bilateral ties between the two countries?
Three key takeaways are taken from the analysis—two competitive and one cooperative—that necessitate closer policy scrutiny due to long-term implications for Indian energy security and geopolitical decision-making:
1. China’s control over critical mineral supply chains negatively impacts India’s RE security
2. India is taking steps to strengthen its RE security through indigenisation and diversification, but it needs to ramp up these measures to better offset Chinese monopoly
3. Despite growing energy security competition, there is potential for cooperation on climate change mitigation.
Dr. Niharika Tagotra is a CLEAN Asia EDGE Fellow with the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) for the year 2021-22. She is a PhD in International Politics from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and was previously with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, as a policy consultant. She is an expert on the geopolitics of energy security, clean energy transition, and climate change.
This Policy Brief is part of IPCS' multi-year cooperation with the Clingendael Institute on the security implications of climate change in Southern Asia.