The Battery of ASEAN: The opportunity and lesson of India’s energy security

Kaewkhunok, Suppawit

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The Lao People's Democratic Republic is a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN. Laos has been classified since 1971 as belonging to the group of least developed countries in the world; however, it is articulating a plan to transform itself and become the ‘Battery of ASEAN” by 2020 – thus ridding itself of such low status. It is the only landlocked country in ASEAN; however, its territory is rich in natural resources – especially rivers and coal. The country is traversed by a thousand rivers. The national hydropower development plan contains 72 new large dams, 12 of which are under construction and nearly 25 at advanced planning stages. Laos plans to export its power to both Thailand and Vietnam. The hydroelectric project under preparation is supported by many neighbouring countries; in fact, cooperation between Laos and its neighbours is key to the policy in question. However, this strategy also challenges both the geopolitics and the cooperation mechanisms within ASEAN. Laos plans to establish nine dams on the lower Mekong mainstream, which will affect neighbouring countries which share said Mekong River with Laos – including Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. The rise of a Chinese-Lao economic relationship also shapes new geopolitical realities within ASEAN. Overall, it can be said that from an Indian point of view this new hydroelectrical policy constitutes an important opportunity for access to new energy supplies. It can also reveal itself a model for future national strategies regarding regional cooperation on the energy sector.

Document type: Article
Publisher: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)
Place of Publication: Brussels
Date: 2018
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 12:09
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Political science
Civic and landscape art
Controlled Keywords: Laos, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Energieerzeugung, Wasserkraft, Elektrizitätserzeugung
Uncontrolled Keywords: Laos, Vietnam, Kambodscha, Thailand, Südostasien, Indien, China, ASEAN, Energie, natürliche Ressourcen, Kohle, Flüsse, Mekong, Wasserkraft, Staudämme, Kooperation, Geopolitik, Ökonomie / Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Southeast Asia, India, China, ASEAN, energy, natural resources, coal, rivers, Mekong, hydropower, dams, cooperation, geopolitics, economics
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: China
Southeast Asia
Series: Themen > SADF Focus
Volume: 39