Current Affairs, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
The discovery of lithium reserves in India could have significant implications for the country’s energy security and economic growth. What are the geopolitical implications of India becoming a major producer of lithium? Examine.
भारत में लिथियम भंडार की खोज से देश की ऊर्जा सुरक्षा और आर्थिक विकास पर महत्वपूर्ण प्रभाव पड़ सकता है। लिथियम का एक प्रमुख उत्पादक बनने के भारत के भू-राजनीतिक निहितार्थ क्या हैं? परीक्षण करें।
Candidates can start the answer with basic idea of Lithium and then highlight the Significance of the lithium reserve in India also try to examine the geopolitical implications.
Recently, lithium resources were found in Jammu & Kashmir by the geological survey of India. Lithium is considered a crucial component for the production of rechargeable batteries, which are used in a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles.
Implications for the country’s energy security and economic growth:
- Imports & need of self-sufficiency: India is seeking to secure its critical mineral supplies and build self-sufficiency in this sector. The lithium reserves in J&K could boost the domestic battery-manufacturing industry.
- Expansion of Electric Vehicles: The J&K reserves will also help advance the Indian government’s ambitious plan of 30% EV penetration in private cars, 70% for commercial vehicles, and 80% for two and three-wheelers by 2030 for the automobile industry.
- Development of a domestic manufacturing ecosystem for EVs and batteries, which can further contribute to the country’s economic growth.
- Employment: It also reduces imports and boosts employment opportunities. The country currently imports all of its lithium needs. India was heavily dependent on Hong Kong and China for its Lithium requirements.
- Energy security: According to the Central Electricity Authority, the country will need 27 GW of grid-scale energy storage systems by 2030. This will require large amounts of lithium.
- Economy: As various government schemes like PLI are focussing on electronics and semiconductors. Availability of lithium resources can help in establishing end to end supply chains.
- Energy Transition: The success of transition from combustion vehicle to an electric vehicle depends on battery, which accounts for at least 30% of the vehicle’s cost. India’s demand for these critical resources has risen 6 fold in the last five years as it tries to be the electronic and solar manufacturing hub.
- Union territory of J&K (previously a state) has been the site of historical cross-border tensions between India and Pakistan, domestic insurgency, and terrorism.
- So, this new discovery has geostrategic implications considering the geopolitical sensitivity of its wider location.
- The world’s supply of lithium is under strain due to the concentration of resources in a few locations with 54% of the world’s Lithium reserves are found in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
- If the perceived size of the mineral reserves in J&K is borne out by further exploration, India could jump ahead of China vis-à-vis its Li stockpile.
However, there are also some challenges like investments in exploration, extraction, and processing of lithium, as well as ensuring sustainable mining practices and minimizing the environmental impact of lithium mining. Additionally, there is also a need for developing a robust regulatory framework to manage and govern the extraction and use of lithium reserves.
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