India’s drive to net zero offers a bright future

By Kealan Finnegan

Ongoing improvements to the ease of doing business a central tenant of the Government of India’s welcome approach to foreign investors—will make it easier for UK companies to do business in India’s dynamic economy. One area of opportunity is India’s energy transition. The country seeks to move from fossil fuels to renewables while simultaneously growing its energy output.

Much is already happening.

In Chennai, a hub of India’s automobile industry, the British Deputy High Commissioner drives an electric Jaguar charged by a solar power unit made by a UK company CityEV. It’s one of many collaborations flourishing in India where UK technology is finding favour.

At COP 26, Prime Minister Modi announced the country’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2070, the first time India has committed to the Net Zero goal. The Indian government has introduced a raft of policies and climate friendly practices including multilateral agreements to harness solar power, a bold policy of electrifying India’s massive rail network, and incentives to consumers to switch to electric vehicles.

Given India’s scale—it will become the world’s most populous nation next year and is now the world’s fifth-largest economy—the challenge is huge, but so is the opportunity.

Technology collaboration

Collaboration is key. No single industry, let alone a country, can make real progress in isolation. The UK is a world leader in sustainable manufacturing techniques and applied science. India is home to the greatest source of digital talent on earth, and is unrivalled in building at scale. Partnerships rooted in technology collaboration will benefit both countries and the world’s decarbonisation ambition.

These sorts of partnerships are happening already between UK and Indian companies:

  • Faradion is a UK pioneer of sodium-ion batteries. Having developed the technology in its offices in Oxford and Sheffield it now plans to make these alternatives to lithium-ion batteries at scale in India. India’s dependence on largely Chinese-origin lithium-ion batteries will decline. Last year Faradion was bought by Reliance Industries, India’s largest privately owned business.
  • UK research, training, and technology firm TWI is introducing low-carbon technologies into India, like helping to reduce waste and energy use by eliminating the need for surface finishing of components. Besides supporting energy transition, which is a long-term process, TWI is also helping Indian companies extend the life of their thermal power facilities.
  • Traffic isn’t just one way. Indian automaker Mahindra unveiled five new electric SUVs for the Indian market in August. Much of the design was done in Coventry where it has headquartered M.A.D.E. – its European research and development facility. Coventry is also where development work for Mahindra Racing’s Formula E cars takes place, and the company sees potential to apply those technologies in street vehicles.

Dynamism in the decades ahead

India is on the upward curve in its growth journey. Skills, scale, innovation, and dynamism will continue to drive the economy in the next decades. It’s an exciting time to be in India as a result and many UK companies have tapped into this potential. Those that start now can get ahead of the pack.

The UK India Business Council, through our policy advocacy and strategic advisory services, can help you to think about, analyse, understand, and engage with India. Our team of UK-India experts can help you to navigate the complexities in entering this new market to establish your presence in a way that suits your needs and objectives, and ultimately to help you to succeed in India.

Get in touch for a free consultation with one of our experts today to start your India journey using

Read more on the UK-India partnerships happening now and opportunities for UK manufacturers to enter India in our new report: A Bright Future: India’s ambitious net zero targets create opportunities for innovators and changemakers

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