IEA to start membership talks with India in major step forward for global energy governance

India, which first joined the IEA Family as an Association country in 2017, is set to play an increasingly important role in tackling global energy and climate issues as its economy, population and energy use all grow

Ministers from the International Energy Agency’s member countries agreed to start discussions with India on the Indian government’s request to become a full IEA member, recognising the country’s strategic importance in tackling global energy and climate challenges.

Ministers from the IEA’s 31 member countries made the announcement in a joint communique following the IEA’s 2024 Ministerial Meeting and 50th Anniversary events in Paris on 13-14 February.

India, which joined the IEA Family as an Association country in 2017, sent a formal request for full membership to IEA ministers in October 2023. India becoming an IEA member would mark a huge, consequential change in international energy governance. As the world’s most populous country, India is set to play an increasingly central role in efforts to safeguard energy security, drive inclusive energy transitions, and combat climate change.

In the next three decades, India is poised to see the largest energy demand growth of any country in the world as industrialisation and urbanisation surge and per capita income rises sharply.

“India is the world’s fastest growing major economy. Sustained growth needs energy security and sustainability,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. “Inclusivity boosts the credibility and capability for any institution. 1.4 billion Indians bring talent, technology and innovation to the table. We bring scale and speed, quantity and quality to every mission. I am sure that the IEA will benefit when India plays a bigger role in it.”

"I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my full support for the Agency's efforts to welcome emerging economies, whether through the recent association of Kenya and Senegal or the launch of negotiations with India to join the IEA as a full member,” said President Emmanuel Macron of France.

“We are very happy that ministers from the IEA’s member countries have agreed to start membership talks with India – this is a major milestone for international energy governance,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “A valued and indispensable partner of our Agency, India plays a crucial and growing role in the global energy economy. The world cannot plan for its energy future without India at the table.”

"Congratulations to IEA on its 50th anniversary. Ensuring assured and affordable energy supplies while pursuing global clean energy transitions goals is more important than ever. IEA’s global role and leadership in this context has been critical to its partners around the world,” said India’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. “India and IEA have been deepening their partnership in the last decade and India is pleased that IEA Ministers have agreed to start discussions on India’s full membership following our request in October 2023. We look forward to continuing to engage with IEA members on the next steps."

“In so many ways, the world’s energy future will depend on India’s energy future," said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. "Prime Minister Modi’s leadership in renewable and alternative energies has already driven down prices for the rest of the world making these options cost competitive with every other energy source. The world’s oldest continuous democracy looks forward to soon welcoming the world’s largest democracy into IEA membership to advance our shared climate and energy security goals.”

"Australia is also pleased to support India’s journey to become an IEA member. India will have the largest energy demand growth globally to 2050," said Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen. "We are pleased that discussions are progressing well and hope to be able to welcome India into the IEA Family soon as an important voice from our region, and for our region."

“The agreed text on relations with India highlights the commitment to expand the Agency's action and represents a step forward towards sharing common goals and global commitment in pursuing sustainable solutions for the energy and ecological transition,” said Minister of the Environment and Energy Security Gilberto Pichetto Fratin of Italy, which holds the G7 Presidency this year.

IEA membership for India was also one of the key topics discussed by President Joe Biden of the United States and Indian Prime Minister Modi during their meeting in Washington in June 2023.

The IEA and India have expanded their collaboration on energy and climate issues in recent years – further deepening ties during India’s G20 Presidency in 2023. The IEA provided expert analysis and advice on energy, climate and development issues throughout India’s G20 Presidency, including on renewables, biofuels, energy efficiency, innovation and India’s Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) initiative.