Energy demand in the SASEC subregion is expected to increase over the next decade resulting from economic growth and rising per capita incomes and energy consumption. With energy resources in South Asia unevenly spread, regional energy cooperation could help countries develop their energy resources in an optimal manner to lower energy costs, improve regional energy security, and contribute to climate change mitigation. SASEC initiatives in the energy sector support improvement of energy trade infrastructure, developing a regional power market by harmonizing legal and regulatory frameworks, and developing low-carbon alternatives and conservation and energy efficiency measures.
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The small hydropower plant at Chandannath Municipality in Nepal's Jumla District was rehabilitated with financial assistance from the Government of India. The plant was virtually inaugurated by the Embassy of India in Kathmandu, Nepal, the District Coordination Committee of Jumla, and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) on 5 May.
The Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) has launched the Cross Border Electricity Trade (CBET) on its platform. The IEX aims to provide the most competitive benchmark for power prices and valuable signals for the value chain. It will work closely with designated nodal agencies for cross border electricity trade to facilitate inter-country power trade through the exchange market.
The Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Ltd. (KHEL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India’s power sector financers under the Ministry of Power for the 600-megawatt (MW) hydropower project in eastern Bhutan. KHEL is the first hydropower joint venture between Bhutan and India.
South Asia needs an integrated energy grid to reduce transmission cost and promote regional economic development, said Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary of the Government of India. The subregion should bring together buyers and sellers and harmonize regulatory frameworks to harness the potential of the power trade, he added.
The Dhakelbar substation came online on 1 February 2021. The 400-kilovolt substation enables the state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority to exchange 1,000 to 1,200 megawatts of electricity with India via the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line. Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said the infrastructure will serve as the main gateway to import and export electricity to India.
The Governments of Bangladesh and India held their Foreign Office Consultations on 29 January 2021 in New Delhi, India. The meeting held a comprehensive review of progress achieved in their bilateral relationship in areas such as cooperation on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), trade, connectivity, development partnership, power, energy, and regional cooperation.
The 19th Joint Steering Committee meeting on Bangladesh-India cooperation in the power sector held on 23 January 2021 at Dhaka, Bangladesh reviewed the status of power trade between the two countries. They also discussed energy trade involving Nepal and Bhutan.
India and Sri Lanka are looking forward to cooperating post-COVID-19, underscored Mr. Jaishankar during his visit to Sri Lanka. He noted that many opportunities are in discussion, such as special zones for pharmaceutical manufacturing and tourism. There were also proposals in infrastructure, energy, and connectivity. He also stressed that the Indian business community is strongly interested in investing in Sri Lanka.
The virtual summit held by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed their bilateral relationship amid the challenges brought on by COVID-19. They also jointly inaugurated the newly restored railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh), and agreed to soon operationalize the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA).
The governments of India and Nepal held the eighth meeting of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC) on Cooperation in the Power sector on 10 December 2020 virtually. The meeting generated positive and wide-ranging discussions that are expected to further boost the expansion of power sector cooperation between India and Nepal.
India's northeastern states are working to improve infrastructure and connectivity to help reduce the cost of transport and basic commodities. India's northeastern region is the country's gateway to East and Southeast Asia, and India is promoting transport and energy connectivity with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, explains Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary of the Government of India.
Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary of the Government of India, paid a visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to take forward cooperation on matters of mutual interest. His meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina discussed India-Bangladesh connectivity and power projects, as well as India’s developmental assistance for Bangladesh.
The Governments of India and Nepal held the Eighth Meeting of the Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism on 17 August 2020. The virtual meeting conducted a comprehensive review of the projects being implemented under bilateral cooperation.
India and Nepal can enjoy considerable benefits from cross-border energy trade. This commentary discusses how developing a robust power trading ecosystem can have far-reaching environmental, institutional, and social benefits in India and Nepal.
The Government of Nepal gave the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) approval to sell electricity to Bangladesh and India. Approval of Nepal Cabinet allows NEA to fix the price on the basis of competition, according to a report on the Himalayan Times. NEA can engage in electricity trade when domestic production is high and/or when production is low.
The Governments of Bhutan and India signed an agreement for the first joint venture hydropower project between the two countries. This agreement covers the construction of the 600-megawatt Kholongchhu hydropower project in Bhutan.
A new Asian Development Bank project will help improve power supply and distribution systems in Nepal through a concessional loan worth $200 million. The project aligns with the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation program on intraregional power trade through cross-border power exchange.
Mr. Barsha Man Pun, Nepal Minister for Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, urged Mr. Sanjiv Nandan Sahai, India Power Secretary, to accelerate power trade between India and Nepal. The Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA) and the Nepal Electricity Authority has an existing power trade agreement. A go ahead from the Power Ministry of India will allow the CEA to carry out measures necessary to accelerate power trade with Nepal.
Bangladesh is in talks with Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and Nepal to import electricity to meet Bangladesh’s growing energy demand. This was according to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was speaking via videoconferencing at the inauguration of four power plants and eight substations in the country.
The 69 kilometer Motihari (India)-Amlekhgunj (Nepal) pipeline, signed by India and Nepal in 2015, was jointly inaugurated by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on 10 September 2019. The project is South Asia's first cross-border pipeline for petroleum products.
Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi have signed a power purchase agreement between PTC India Limited and Bhutan’s Druk Green Power Corporation Limited for the sale and purchase of electricity from the 720 megawatt Mangdechhu hydropower project. The two prime minister jointly inaugurated the hydropower plant during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bhutan.
India said it would support Nepal’s energy sector as Nepal seeks to export energy to third countries, such as Bangladesh and Myanmar. The move will provide power producers in Nepal access to international markets for energy export.
PTC India Limited and the Bangladesh Power Development Board signed two new power purchase agreements on 9 October 2018 to add 200 megawatts of power import from India to Bangladesh. The contracts, worth $1.8 billion, will be supplied to Bangladesh on a short- and long-term basis.
Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, and Mr. Matrika Prasad Yadav, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supply, Government of Nepal, held a bilateral meeting to discuss strengthening of energy and economic ties between the two countries. Both ministers agreed to explore potential pipelines for LPG and LNG to supply fertilizer plants and industries in Nepal.
The 15th Meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Steering Committee on Power Sector reviewed the existing cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector. Bangladesh plans to import an additional 340 megawatt electricity through the Surjomoni-Cumilla North Link, under government-to-government modality. The meeting also reviewed the proposal to set up a power transmission line that will enable Bangladesh to import electricity from Bhutan and Nepal through India.
India’s GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower Ltd. is set to sign a power purchase agreement with the Bangladesh government to export electricity to be generated by the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project in Nepal. The agreement will serve as a guiding framework for Nepal for exporting surplus electricity to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s Executive Committee of the National Economic Council has approved a project to install a high-voltage direct-current back-to-back substation at Comilla in Bangladesh for importing 500 megawatts of electricity from Tripura, India.
The Government of India signed an agreement to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Government of Japan. These were approved by the Government of Sri Lanka, along with an LNG project by the People's Republic of China. In total, the three LNG power plants will generate up to 1,400 megawatts.
The Government of Bangladesh's Cabinet Committee on Purchase approved a proposal to import 500 megawatts of electricity from India from June 2018 to May 2033 to help meet the country's energy demand. The Committee also cleared a proposal appointing Texmaco Rail and Engineering from India to build the dual gauge rail line from Akhaura to Agartala.
Eminent Persons Group including representatives from both India and Nepal exchanged the first draft reports on future India-Nepal relations during their seventh meeting in Kathmandu on 24 February 2018. It is likely that they will produce one joint final report during the next meeting in New Delhi that will be submitted to both governments before the group’s term expires in July.
The 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Bhutan and India is an occasion to reflect on further advancing ties between the two countries, said Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, India. India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner and the two countries cooperate in the fields of transport and hydroelectric power.
Bangladesh's interest to harness Nepal's hydropower potential could be a win-win for both countries, with India playing the role of catalyst, shared Mr. Mostofa Sohrab Chowdhury, President, Rangpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Bangladesh's projected additional energy demand is 21,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, while Nepal's untapped economically feasible hydropower potential is 42,000 MW.
India will supply an additional 300 megawatts (MW) to Bangladesh through the state-run NTPC Ltd. This additional energy export will begin once the 500 MW high voltage direct current Bangladesh-India inter-connection is commissioned.
Rapid economic growth and increasing populations pose challenges to the South Asian region’s energy security. Increasing energy cooperation among South Asian countries will help ensure access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for the entire region.
The Government of Bhutan is moving forward with Detailed Project Reports for pipeline hydropower projects in the country, including hydropower joint ventures with the Government of India. Bhutan aims to generate another 5,178 megawatts by 2025 from these pipeline projects, including the 1,125 MW Dorjilung project, 2,560 MW Sunkosh project, and 2,640 MW Kuri Gongri project.
The power purchase agreement between the Nepal Electricity Authority and the NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam of India was extended by three months, from 1 January to end of March 2018. This allows Nepal to import up to 160 megawatts of electricity through the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission.
Nepal has decided to join the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grid interconnection, a move meant to help facilitate trade in electricity and take full advantage of available energy sources. Nepal is expected to sign an MOU to join the grid interconnection at the Third BIMSTEC Energy Ministers' Meeting.
An Asian Development Bank report suggests that a shift in India’s electricity policy could help address the acute electricity shortages faced by SAARC countries, which affects socioeconomic development as well as business operations. Policy amendments could help facilitate cross-border power trade among SAARC countries and give communities better access to electricity.
Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, India, and Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Foreign Minister, Bangladesh, co-chaired the Fourth India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) Meeting, reviewing progress on key initiatives and decisions in areas including trade and investment, security, connectivity, border management, power, energy, shipping, and people-to-people exchange.
Mr. Abul Maal A. Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh, and Mr. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, India, signed the Third Line of Credit (LoC) from India to Bangladesh worth $4.5 billion, to be used for implementation of projects in connectivity. Mr. Jaitley lauded the outstanding relations between the two neighbors after a meeting with Mr. Muhith.
Mr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary, India, met with Bhutan top leaders to discuss trade and economic ties, energy cooperation, and the implementation of India-assisted projects in Bhutan.
The 13th Joint Steering Committee Meeting between Bangladesh and India, held on 27-28 September 2017 in New Delhi, India, reviewed Bangladesh-India power sector cooperation, and explored new areas and opportunities, including the possible 840 megawatt (MW) additional electricity import from India to Bangladesh, and planned Bangladesh hydropower imports from Nepal and Bhutan.
The Government of Bangladesh and India's GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower Ltd. are now preparing to sign a power purchase agreement. GMR will be exporting 300 to 500 megawatts (MW) of energy generated by the Upper Karnali Hydroelectric Project in Nepal via India.
Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative
The International Trade Centre's Trade Map reports an increase in intraregional trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregion in 2016, from $21.65 billion in 2015 to $23.52 billion. The ratio of BBIN intraregional trade to world trade went up from 2.98% in 2015 to 3.34% in 2016.
The Asia Foundation, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry, is preparing a study on energy trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion, examining how market forces, networks, and stakeholders interact. In this commentary, Mr. Aditya Valiathan Pillai, program officer of the Asia Foundation in India, discusses the creation of an energy market in South Asia and the growing importance of regional electricity trade in helping mitigate carbon emissions.
India's Ministry of Power is preparing a set of guidelines for cross-border trade of electricity, with draft regulations from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. This will regulate cross-border energy trade between India and Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, by creating a uniform framework.
Finance ministers and senior officials of member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka met on 5 May at Yokohama, Japan, at the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 50th Annual General Meeting.
India's Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the ratification of the MOU for the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. The MOU is expected to be signed at the next BIMSTEC Energy Minsters' Meeting and provides a broad framework for energy trade among BIMSTEC member countries.
Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myamar, according to Mr. AMA Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh. Turning Bangladesh into a regional and transshipment hub would enhance economic cooperation and result in collective economic growth for the countries, Mr. Muhith said at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, India.
The Governments of India and Nepal discussed how to bring transmission line projects—the Dhalkebar (Nepal)-Muzaffarpur (India) transmission line, Raxaul (India)-Parwanipur (Nepal) transmission line, and Kataiya (India)-Kushaha (Nepal) transmission line—into operation. They agreed to increase the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line to 220 kVa capacity in May 2017, and begin electricity import through the Raxaul-Parwanipur and Kataiya-Kushaha transmission line.
Hydropower cooperation among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal could be a viable option for addressing growing power needs in the region, said Mr. Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research, Brac University, Bangladesh. Nepal’s hydropower potential stands at 83,000 megawatts (MW), while Bhutan’s is at 40,000 MW and northeast India’s at 60,000 MW.
The second meeting of the Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism, held on 30 January 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal, reviewed progress of India-funded economic and development projects in Nepal, and agreed to expedite implementation of these projects for timely completion. Projects discussed included cross-border railways, integrated check posts, and cross-border transmission lines.
The Integrated Research and Action for Development initiative has launched the analytical study “Economic Benefits from Nepal-India Electricity Trade,” confirming that a large economically feasible electricity export potential exists. Electricity trade can help boost Nepal's economy and improve the well-being of its people, and offers India an affordable and convenient renewable resource to meet demand.
Nepal has upgraded the Thame Khola Small Hydropower Plant in Namche VDC, Solukhumbu District, raising the plant’s capacity from 630 kilowatts (kW) to 930 kW. India provided assistance of $54,500 for the upgrade. The facility supplies power to the upper Khumbu valley, including 18 villages of Khumjung and Namche VDC.
Nepal’s hydropower potential could be realized with an efficient technological base, entrepreneurial vision, a coordinated power trading approach, and sustained investment commitment. Hydropower development would bring economic, social, and environmental benefits in Nepal and the rest of the South Asian region. In this speech delivered at the Power Summit, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal vowed to support domestic and foreign investors through a policy encouraging investment.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an additional $20 million for the SASEC Power System Expansion Project in Nepal, to be provided by the ADB Strategic Climate Fund. This additional financing will support installation of utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems by 2018. The Government of Nepal is also providing complementary funding of $24.5 million.
India's Ministry of Power has issued Guidelines on Cross-Border Trade of Electricity, with the aim of facilitating cross-border trade of electricity between India and its neighboring countries; promoting transparency, consistency and predictability in regulatory approaches across jurisdictions and minimizing perceptions of regulatory risk; and developing reliable grid operation and transmission of electricity across borders.
In a meeting with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mr. Kazi M. Azul Islam, Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, promised CII delegates that Bangladesh will work toward improving the country’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ to encourage more investors from India. Bangladesh has set a five-year target to improve its ease of doing business.
A high-level panel formed by the Governments of India and Nepal will work to address bottlenecks in infrastructure projects in Nepal funded by the Government of India—including hydropower projects, roads and railways—to ensure their timely completion.
Mr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India, called on Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena to discuss potential partnerships between India and Sri Lanka in sectors including energy, infrastructure, and transport, and Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to further discuss boosting bilateral trade and investment.
South Asian countries should engage more in regional energy trade and joint management of resources. By doing so, they could save over $9 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by 8%. And since energy drives development, energy cooperation and trade is expected to translate to improved standards of living and poverty reduction.
A 'Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Hydropower' forum in Kathmandu, Nepal stressed the need for more FDI in hydropower projects. According to Nepal Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma, Nepal needs more investment to be able to fully harness its hydropower capacity. The Power Trade Agreement signed by Nepal and India promises a huge market for Nepal's hydroelectricity.
Finance Ministers from the eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member states are pushing for the formation of a South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) to ensure larger inflow of investments, higher trade volumes, and energy generation. The ministers highlighted the need to fast-track the formation of the SAEU to help boost the inflow of investments and trade volumes.
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) investment projects increased to a cumulative $7.66 billion in the areas of transport, energy, trade facilitation, and ICT with the recent approval of India’s Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project. To date, 40 SASEC-supported projects are helping member countries strengthen regional connectivity infrastructure, promote economic growth, and foster regional cooperation. In addition, there are now 71 technical assistance projects worth $66.14 mi
Mr. Hun Kim, Director General, South Asia Department, ADB, describes how partnership of 6 South Asian countries through the ADB-supported South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program is helping propel economic growth in South Asia, amidst an uncertain regional and global economic climate, by working to increase trade volumes to reduce the number of impoverished people in the region.
The Governments of Bangladesh and India are working on plans to expand the regional energy market by doubling the capacities of cross-border power transmission interconnections, and setting up a third cross-border energy grid.
The interactive SASEC Corridor Map on the SASEC Program website and SASEC Mobile App is your gateway to SASEC projects. View projects by sector—energy, transport, trade facilitation, and ICT—or by corridor using the interactive map, to learn how the SASEC program is helping promote regional prosperity in South Asia. The map also includes project information and links to SASEC project pages.
Regional trade in power could save India from having to invest in 35,000 megawatts in coal-fire facilities, estimated at $26 billion, over the next 25 years. Through energy trade with Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Nepal, India could benefit from reduced fuel costs and a 6.5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Greatly increased energy consumption is powering economic transformation in Asia and the Pacific, but also contributing to higher greenhouse gas emissions. The devastating effects of climate change are already being felt in the region. In this speech delivered at the Pacific Energy Summit on 24 June 2016 in Singapore, Bambang Susantono, Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank, looks at the challenges faced by Asia’s growing economies a
Nepal has forwarded a proposal to set up an India-Nepal energy bank that would help both countries address the problem of power shortage at a meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Standing Committee. The energy bank would enable Nepal to export electricity to India during summer and import electricity from India during winter.
The India-Myanmar Business Conclave met recently as part of a push for stronger economic ties between the two countries. At a conference on 18-20 May in Yangon, Myanmar, business leaders discussed partnerships as well as opportunities for future cooperation. Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry of India, spoke on forging partnerships, highlighting India’s opening of 96.4% of tariff lines at zero duty for Myanmar.
India is planning to develop regional connectivity projects worth around $5 billion under the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-supported SASEC Program, according to Mr. Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, India. These initiatives include two priority road corridors that will boost connectivity with its neighbors in South and Southeast Asia and complementary integrated check posts and land Customs stations. India and ADB will also work together to develop the East Coast Econom
Bangladesh plans to import 2,000 megawatts of electricity from India in the coming years, according to Bangladesh State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid in his address at the 'Power Market Development in India: Key Lessons Learnt' workshop. He highlighted the country's ongoing regional power trade with India and plans for its expansion, and urged the Government of India to step forward in the planned hydropower project with Bhutan.
Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pujari, Secretary, Ministry of Power, India, ensured continuous demand for hydropower in the Indian grid, during his visit to Bhutan to review ongoing joint hydropower ventures. The Government of India plans to triple its power generation capacity to 800 gigawatts by 2030, using renewable energy sources.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the inauguration of an additional 100 megawatt electricity supply from India's Tripura state to Bangladesh's Comilla state, and the leasing of 10 GBPS of internet bandwidth from Bangladesh to India's Agartala state on 23 March 2016. Both Prime Ministers lauded Bangladesh-India cooperation.
India Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar discussed initiatives being pursued by India in line with its 'neighborhood first' policy, in his address at the 42nd Standing Committee Meeting of SAARC. He also emphasized the need to implement the South Asia Economic Union, and sign the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement and SAARC Railways Agreement.
The 9th Session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission discussed strengthening India-Sri Lanka cooperation in areas including energy and trade. The two countries are also preparing to open negotiations on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement. Further possible collaboration in railway development and renewable energy was also bookmarked by the Joint Commission.
A 2-day meeting of the Joint Working Committee and Joint Steering Committee on India-Nepal Cooperation in the Power Sector discussed the implementation of the power trade agreement (PTA) signed in September 2014. The Meeting agreed that India will supply Nepal with 300 megawatt of electricity in the next 18 months, and reviewed plans for long-term energy trade, including the proposed 6 cross-border power corridors.
The third meeting of the Joint Working Group on Subregional Cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on Connectivity and Transit and Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower deliberated new initiatives for deepening cooperation. Discussion centered around progress made under the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement and the proposed BBIN Rail Agreement.
Construction was completed in December 2015 of the 47-kilometer transmission line from India's western Tripura to Bangladesh's southern Comilla and is ready to start supplying 100 megawatt of power from India to Bangladesh. In January 2016, a meeting between Bangladesh and India fixed the tariff for the electricity supply and formal approval will start the flow of power.
Several initiatives to improve Bangladesh's connectivity with India's North East region are in the pipeline, to increase people-to-people contact and cross-border business. These include revamping trade infrastructures to connect border points, and expanding Bangladesh's diplomatic and consular presence in India's North East region.
The Second SASEC Bangladesh-India Electrical Grid Interconnection Project will help boost the import of electricity from India to Bangladesh by doubling the capacity of the existing interconnection system. The project is expected to be completed by June 2018. The Asian Development Bank is providing $120 million loan financing; the Government of Bangladesh is allocating $63 million.
The Power Grid Corporation of India began power transmission along its first "Power Transmission Express Highway". With a 6,000-megawatt capacity, this power corridor connects the northern states with the North Eastern Region, and will help both manage the supply of large-scale hydropower and connect power transactions done with Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay promotedpartnerships as a way to help landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) become land-linked to global opportunities, saying it is possible to ensure a country is not landlocked economically with its neighbors' full trust and confidence. The Prime Minister was attending a high-level forum for landlocked developing countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has set three conditions for the $120 million loan that will finance expansion of the Bangladesh-India Electrical Grid Interconnection Project: public notification of tariff regulations, issuing bids for power purchase from India, and written confirmation from the power grid corporation of India for transmission of an additional 500 megawatt of electricity to Bangladesh.
The certificate of incorporation for the 660 megawatt Kholongchu Hydropower Project (KHP) was formally handed over to Bhutan's Druk Green Power Corporation and India's Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam. Officials of KHP expect construction of about 40 kilometers of road leading to the project site to soon commence. KHP is the first joint venture between Bhutan and India.
The Government of Bangladesh gave the go signal for two energy projects that will boost the country's capacity to import electricity from India. The two projects, roughly amounting to $204.6 million, will allow the country to import 600 megawatt electricity by boosting the country's transmission capacity and establishing a substation. Regional grid connectivity demonstrates the substantial benefits that come from enhanced regional cooperation.
The 126 megawatt (MW) Dagachhu hydropower plant is now fully commissioned, with the successful run of the second 63MW unit test on 15 March 2015. As a joint venture between Druk Green Power Corporation of Bhutan and the Tata Power Company Limited of India, it has a 25-year power purchase agreement to export power from Bhutan to India. The Asian Development Bank, under the SASEC program, funded its construction through the Green Power Development Project.
New Delhi has facilitated an integrated power grid for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member states to begin cross-border trading on the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX). The IEX, an automated power-trading exchange, plans to trade 120MW with Bhutan, and 50MW each with Bangladesh and Nepal. This four-nation power trading will hasten the implementation of the SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation signed in Kathmandu last year.
The Government of Nepal has allocated portions of the $1 billion line of credit from India to infrastructure projects boosting energy trade and transport connectivity between the two countries. The Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project will receive around half of the credit; bridges enhancing connectivity of Nepal's western border with India are also planned.
Nepal and India have formally signed a historic Power Trade Agreement (PTA) which paves the way for free trade of power between the two neighboring countries. The signing took place at Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala's office at Singha Durbar in Kathmandu, Nepal on 21 October 2014, with Nepal Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri and India Power Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha in attendance.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Dhaka Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty paid a 3-day visit to India's state of Tripura in October to meet ministers and top officials and review progress made in several India-Bangladesh infrastructure projects. Following his meeting with Power Minister Mr. Manik Dey, Chakravorty revealed that India has initiated steps to ensure 100 megawatt of power will be supplied to Bangladesh from Tripura's Palatana power plant.
Following the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala during Prime Minister Modi's state visit to Kathmandu in August, a project that has waited in the pipeline for 17 years saw new developments.
Nepal and India signed a landmark preliminary Power Trade Agreement (PTA) on 4 September 2014, around two weeks ahead of the deadline set by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This PTA paves the way for bilateral trade of electricity between the two countries, and is foreseen to boost their energy security, as well as bring in added revenues to Nepal's economy.
Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao expressed full support for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of greater regional integration and connectivity at a meeting on August 27 during a 2-day visit to India. Strengthening ties with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries is a focus of Prime Minister Modi's government.
Mr. Gautam Bambawale, recently appointed Ambassador of India to Bhutan, visited Chhukha Hydropower Plant-the first joint project between India and Bhutan-during his first two weeks in office. Power trade between Bhutan and India is one of the many areas of cooperation between the two countries.
After striking a similar deal in India, Nepal is set to sign a power trade agreement with Bangladesh. A Memorandum of Understanding is expected to be vetted by Nepal and presented during the power sector cooperation meeting in December, after the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation summit. Hydropower produced in Nepal through power sector cooperation, would be exported to Bangladesh through India's power corridor.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a two-day visit to Kathmandu, Nepal on 3-4 August 2014, the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 17 years. At a speech delivered to the Parliament of Nepal, Modi announced India’s desire to help Nepal and offered an additional soft loan of US $1 billion for energy projects and infrastructure development.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a loan of $180 million to Nepal for the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Power System Expansion Project to help Nepal address its urgent power needs. Two government agencies of Nepal are involved in the project – Nepal Electricity Authority to upgrade transmission and distribution lines, and the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre to provide electricity to remote rural areas.