India and the United States have agreed to cooperate on energy projects including shale gas and clean energy, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama told a press conference on Monday.

The two countries will set up a research and development centre for clean energy in India.

"We agreed to deepen our co-operation in pursuit of clean energy technologies, including the creation of a new clean energy research centre here in India, and continuing our joint research into solar, biofuels, shale gas and building efficiency," Obama said.

India currently imports around four-fifths of its crude oil needs and is looking abroad to help fuel a near double-digit economic boom. It is looking at alternative sources of fuel as so far its own oil exploration has provided insufficient flows.

India, which has one of the world's lowest power consumption rates per capita, has set a power generation target of 62,000 megawatts by March 2012. India currently has around 165 gigawatts of installed generation capacity.

Around two-thirds of the country's electricity is generated from thermal power currently using coal, gas and liquid fuel.

India is looking at alternative sources of energy to plug gaps in its supply and demand for electricity which lead to frequent power cuts, particularly in rural areas.

Nuclear and hydro electricity generation account for less than a quarter of India's total output currently.

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