India wants to reduce coal imports and increase domestic production, federal coal minister G. Kishan Reddy said on Thursday.

The country, the world's second-largest consumer of coal, imported 176 million tons of thermal coal in 2023, Reuters reported earlier in the year.

Imports are expected to not go beyond 160 million tons in 2024, Rajat Handa, vice president of international trade at a coal importing firm Agarwal Coal, told Reuters in February.

Reddy did not provide further details.

India has increasingly relied on coal to address power demand as it expects power generation to grow the fastest since at least 2011/12.

It has long defended the use of coal, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration has slowed the heavily polluting fuel-based capacity growth to focus on India's green energy transition in a bid to meet its 2070 net zero emission goals.

India, which is under pressure from rich economies to stop or reduce coal use, has plans to set up new coal power plants with power generation set to begin four years later. (Reporting by Neha Arora in New Delhi; Writing by Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman )