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Towards cross-border energy and knowledge cooperation in South Asia

South Asia has an interesting mix of countries displaying diversity in terms of natural resources, landscape, per capita income, culture, happiness index, etc. On the energy front all these countries today are facing a multitude of challenges in meeting their rapidly growing requirements in a sustainable manner. While governments of each of these countries have been trying to do their best, there are still shortages in terms of access, availability, and quality of supply. For example, not long ago, Pakistan’s power supply situation was more than satisfactory with a surplus supply of electricity, while India was a sink for electricity in the region. While India continues to suffer from perennial electricity shortages, Pakistan is now faced with a serious energy crisis, less than a decade since its surplus scenario in the early 2000s. The recent grid collapse in India affected nearly 700 million people, and in neighbouring Pakistan, 3.7% of GDP growth was nearly balanced out by the loss in GDP due to power cuts in 2011. Energy chaos is not unique to these two countries only, other nations in the region (Nepal, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan) are also faced with the daunting challenge of ensuring energy security in varying degree. South Asia, with nearly 20% of world’s population and only 5% of commercial energy consumption, indicates a huge potential for energy consumption in the region. Per capita energy consumption in India and Pakistan is less than a third of the world average, reflecting the vast majority of the population without access to modern energy sources.

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