New Delhi: Amid the quest for energy transition and ambitious net zero goals, India and the US are looking to collaborate in the fields of battery technologies and critical minerals, said Tarun Kapoor, the special advisor to the Prime Minister.

He was speaking at the 20th Indo-US Economic Summit, organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC).

The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Sharing ideas & potential for a substantial partnership between India and the US for the next 25 years’.

Addressing a session on infrastructure, road transport and highways, he noted that both countries are already collaborating to set up funds for renewable energy, and are also working on payment security mechanisms for electric buses.

“We have a good scope of collaboration even further in terms of getting more investments into the country, partnerships between companies in India and US companies particularly considering the technology play which is happing all over the world,” he said.

“Batteries and critical minerals are two areas where we are looking forward to good collaboration because in order to secure our energy requirements we have to move from absolutely basics which means the materials that go into these minerals also need to be tied up which are so critical, lithium and others, they also need to be tied up for which we have discussions going on at present,” Kapoor added.

Observing that India has witnessed rapid growth in terms of manufacturing in the electric vehicle space, he stressed that there is a need to set up good charging infrastructure in the country.

“Public charging infrastructure is very essential. We have this plan of covering 22,000 petrol stations with charging infrastructure. In the next 2-3 years we will have very good charging infrastructure,” he said.

Further, with the need to set up charging infrastructure along national highways, he said that the sector would require a lot of investment.

Throwing light on the government’s focus on improving the road infrastructure in the country, he said that India will have access to expressways in the range of 50 km to 100 km from any part of the country.

He said that currently 25 per cent of cargo movement is done through railways, and there is a target to take this to 40 per cent.

Kapoor further said that given that Indian Railways has turned electric, it will eventually turn green with the complete greening of the power grid.

“As far as roads are concerned, the efforts of the government are to have a better network of roads,” he said. Given that highways and rural roads have been constructed over the years in the country, Kapoor said that there is a need to ensure that the networks of roads are seamlessly integrated.

Addressing the programme, Damon DuBord, Energy Unit Chief, US Embassy in India said that electrifying the transportation sector will be important and promoting e-mobility is an important component of both countries' journey towards net zero.

The session was chaired by Sunil Jain, Regional Council Member, IACC and the other speakers included Gunita Pahwa, Joint Managing Partner, S&A Law Offices, Amol Chitnis, Co-Founder and Director, Reliable Autotech Private Limited.