India on Monday expressed its willingness to work jointly with Australia in energy, minerals and power generation sectors including tie-up for gas supply for new plants to be set up by both countries in India.

Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde during his bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart in Perth said Australia could play a major role in the Indian energy sector, which is growing at a rapid pace with huge opportunities for investments and technology.

Speaking at the first Australia-India Energy and Minerals Forum in Perth, he said the two countries could work together in the areas of development of use of brown coal (lignite), energy efficiency, efficiency improvements of coal based power plants, hydro power development and power generation technology research and development of smart grids.

Mr. Shinde also expressed his desire to have a tie-up with Australian companies for supply of gas for gas-based power plants in India especially western India.

He said Indian companies were interested in procurement of coal and liquefied natural gas from Australia. In the area of exploration, he said, companies were beginning to invest in each other's country and expressed hope that these investments would grow further. Indian companies had invested in coal mining, copper mining, oil and gas exploration and entered into a partnership agreement with a uranium exploration company also.

Mr. Shinde observed that India during the global downturn managed to achieve one of the highest growth rates in the world. In spite of all odds the Indian economy exhibited significant resilience in 2009-10 and closed the year with a robust growth of 7.4 per cent.

India now had the fifth largest electricity generation capacity in the world and the world's third largest transmission and distribution network.

The gigantic task of providing power for all could be successful only when the efforts of the government were strongly supported and complemented by the private sector.

He said international majors like Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Alstom and Ansaldo had already started the process of partnering Indian manufacturers to set up super critical manufacturing facilities in India. He said the Ministry of Power was deeply involved with the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency, one of the eight missions under the Plan.

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