Energy Transitions


7th September, 2011

From Norm-Taker to Norm-Maker? Indian Energy Governance in Global Context

Navroz K Dubash


This article examines how India’s domestic energy challenges have been shaped by global forces and how, in turn, India has engaged and is likely to engage in discussions of global energy governance. A central theme is that exploring India’s engagement in global energy governance requires a clear understanding of its domestic energy context and how this has changed over time. The article develops three narratives that have guided Indian energy governance domestically: state control; the grafting on of market institutions; and the embryonic linkage between energy security and climate change. In all these phases, Indian energy has been strongly influenced by global trends, but these have been filtered through India’s political economy, creating outcomes that constrain future policy implementation. This path dependent story also carries implications for India’s engagement with global energy governance. With the rise of a new narrative around energy security, increasingly leavened with invocations of clean energy, India is positioned to reformulate its engagement in global debates. However, the perceived need, strategic clarity and resultant eagerness to engage in the task are all limited.

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