First International Solar Alliance Summit in March to be mega diplomatic show
India is preparing to host the mega inaugural International Solar Alliance Summit in Delhi on March 11 in the presence of more than a dozen leaders, including those from Asia, Pacific and South America, to set the ball rolling for the country’s leadership in providing affordable renewable energy.
The big draw at the summit will be the French President Emanuel Macron, who will be on a state visit to India coinciding with the event, which his country is co-sponsoring, officials said.
The summit or mega founding conference comes just over two years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi first proposed the initiative. Close on the heels of the successful Indo-ASEAN Summit, which was attended by top leaders of all 10 Southeast Asian countries, the upcoming event is being dubbed ‘a mini-Africa summit’ reminiscent of the one hosted by India in 2015.
The countries which receive maximum sunshine are on the African continent, ranging from Somalia to Egypt.
Besides African leaders, the summit is expected to be attended by Presidents of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, along with leaders of prominent oil producing South American nations and Pacific Islands. Heads of World Bank, ADB, BRICS Bank and European Investment Bank are also among those expected to attend the summit.
Officials said the number of heads of state and heads of government attending the summit could go up as more countries ratify the ISA treaty ahead of the summit. Invitations have been sent to 50 signatories including 21 countries which have so far ratified the treaty for ISA.
The International Solar Alliance is a treaty based inter-governmental alliance of 121 solar resource rich countries located fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
The summit will be a mega diplomatic show, reflecting the Modi government’s sustained focus on foreign outreach, officials said. The PM is expected to hold bilateral meets with some of the leaders on the sidelines of the summit, they said.
The event will underline India’s commitment to fulfilling global commitments in a time-bound fashion, thereby increasing global confidence in India’s capacities, said an official, who did not wish to be identified. The key goal of ISA is to make available solar energy at an affordable rate, create solar grids and establish solar credit mechanism, officials said.
“The vision and mission of the International Solar Alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where the global community, including bilateral and multilateral organisations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner,” read a statement from the ISA Secretariat.
The secretariat is based in Gurgaon, where PM Modi and then French President Francois Hollande laid the foundation stone in 2016.