Quad Geopolitics: Critical Minerals Competition
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Quad Geopolitics
Critical Minerals Competition

Podcast with Niharika Tagotra, Kristin Vekasi, and Thomas Lutken
April 6, 2023

With many nations aiming for midcentury net-zero emissions targets, massive amounts of critical minerals will be necessary to build the commodities and infrastructure for supporting a lower-carbon energy network. Each interlocking facet of energy production, trade, and consumption relies on the stability of existing partnerships and processes, many of which have been turned upside down in the wake of regional conflicts. In this episode of Asia Insight, NBR’s Tom Lutken discusses critical mineral competition with Niharika Tagotra and Kristin Vekasi.

Niharika Tagotra is a Senior Research Specialist in the WRI India Energy Program. Before joining WRI, Dr. Tagotra was working as consultant for energy security at the Ministry of External Affairs as a master’s in nuclear physics and a PhD in International Politics.

Kristin Vekasi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and School of Policy and International Affairs at the University of Maine. She is also a Nonresident Fellow at NBR. Dr. Vekasi received her PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Thomas Lutken is a Project Manager with the Energy and Environmental Affairs group at NBR. In this role, he helps manage NBR’s ongoing projects on environmental policy, economic development, and energy security.



[2:09] Dr. Vekasi, could you provide some background on, and lessons from, Japan and South Korea’s experience in diversifying their critical mineral supply chains?

[11:00] Dr. Tagotra, how can India and the United States work together to counterbalance the near monopoly that China has in the critical minerals supply chain?

[18:32] Dr. Tagotra, could you speak about this recent discovery of large lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir, and what this could mean for India’s role in global critical mineral supply chains?

[20:43] Dr. Vekasi, do have any follow-on thoughts on this lithium reserve discovery in India?

[32:33] How do you see the future of critical minerals, in the United States and for U.S. allies in Asia?

About Asia Insight

The NBR podcast series Asia Insight features interviews with top Asia experts about key issues affecting the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on implications for U.S. policy and businesses. Subscribe to Asia Insight on Podbean and Apple Podcasts and let us know what you think of the podcast on Twitter.

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Asia Insight theme music is by Laura Schwartz of Bellwether Bayou.

This podcast was edited by Sandra Ward at NBR.