India Friday called for building the SAARC power grid so that excess power produced in one region of South Asia can be used to meet deficits elsewhere.
Addressing the fifth South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation energy ministers meet here, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that with the implementation of such a grid, hydel power generated in India's northeast, for instance, could be transported via Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, on to Afghanistan, or offshore wind projects set up on the Sri Lankan coast could supply power to Pakistan or Nepal.
"Rivers can flow only in one direction, but power can flow in the direction of our choice. I dream of a seamless SAARC power grid within the next few years," Goyal said.
"SAARC is a robust market but constraints are primarily on the supply side as there are pockets where deficits persist," he added of the region where most countries are battling with power deficits.
The household per capita consumption of electricity within the grouping is only 128 units compared to the global average of 3,045 units.
Giving details of intra-SAARC linkages established in the recent past, Goyal gave examples of the 1,450 MW exchange between India and Bhutan, 500 MW between India and Bangladesh and 150 MW between India and Nepal.
Energy ministers and senior officials from the SAARC member countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka besides hosts India -- are taking part in the two-day meet.
Senior officials meeting on the first day Thursday agreed on a framework agreement for energy cooperation which has been pending since 2010, the power ministry said in a statement here.
SAARC was created in 1985 with its secretariat in Kathmandu. Regional cooperation in the energy sector began in January 2000 with the setting up of a SAARC Technical Committee on Energy.