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Updated: November 23, 2009 00:59 IST

India linking climate change commitments to energy security

Malini Parthasarathy
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a press conference in this file photo. He arrived in the U.S. on Sunday and will meet the US President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Photo: PTI
PTI Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a press conference in this file photo. He arrived in the U.S. on Sunday and will meet the US President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

India is expecting this visit to yield greater momentum in setting up practical collaborative efforts in the transfer of technology described as climate-friendly and transformational that will help in India’s efforts to comply with climate change commitments

With Indian negotiators working overtime with their American counterparts to have an agreement on arrangements for fuel reprocessing, ready for signing by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday, India is linking the issue of climate change commitments to the case for greater American cooperation on the supply of nuclear power.

Implicit in the offering of this new rationale for the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal is the expectation that by linking the issue of climate change, a subject that is of increasing concern to American policy makers, India was in fact strengthening Mr. Obama’s hand against the nay-sayers who include die-hard anti-nuclear proliferation evangelists in the State Department and the Congress.

Dr. Singh has already in Parliament and other interlocutions linked the nuclear deals with the U.S. and other countries to the need to augment energy security and to make a strategic shift from carbon-based energy sources to newer ones including nuclear energy. This argument has now been incorporated into Indian negotiating strategy with Indian officials here claiming that both India and the U.S. were clear that the issue of climate change and the challenge of energy security were closely related, two sides of the same coin.

In other words, by suggesting to the United States that if India is expected to fulfill expectations that it will have to speedily take steps to reduce carbon emissions, its energy security needs would have to be addressed, to enable it to make the shift from carbon-based sources.

India is expecting this Prime Ministerial visit to yield greater momentum in setting up practical collaborative efforts in the transfer of technology described as climate-friendly and transformational that will help in India’s efforts to comply with climate change commitments.

The discussions on these issues are being led by the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, on the Indian side and Steven Chu, Energy Secretary, on the American side.

National missions

Maintaining its stand that developing countries can only take voluntary actions in meeting carbon emission reduction targets, India has suggested that national missions such as India’s mission on solar energy, which naturally lend themselves to specific targets and are potentially much more energy efficient, are voluntary actions in achieving climate change targets.

India will take care to reiterate to the U.S. in the talks here that in order to bring about a legally binding outcome, the balance of obligations between the developed and developing countries must be carefully structured. It is also being argued that even as developing countries are being pressured to meet the targets, the U.S. and other developed countries must do their bit by offering finance and technology to meet these goals.

PTI story adds

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here to a red carpet welcome as the first state guest of President Barack Obama for a visit that is expected to take the Indo-US strategic relationship to the next level.

Dr. Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur and the entourage, was welcomed by a group of children and the Indian-American community at the Andrews air force base in Maryland, before he drove to the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, three blocks away from the White House.

The Prime Minister was received by India’s Ambassador to the US Mira Shankar and Chief of Protocol of the United States Penavic Marshall.

The Prime Minister met children and the youths of Indian-American community.

Dr. Singh would be staying at the Willard Intercontinental hotel instead of the historic Blair House, the US President’s designated guest house.

Ahead of his departure from New Delhi on Saturday, Dr. Singh had said India attaches “high priority” to its relations with the US and a “sustained and dynamic” partnership between them is essential to meet major global challenges like terrorism, climate change and economic slowdown.

The Prime Minister’s state visit actually starts on November 24 when US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michell would personally welcome Singh and his wife at the White House and he would be given a 21-gun salute.

Dr. Singh, however, would kick-off his trip on Monday by addressing the American business community, which is his way of acknowledging their contribution in strengthening of the US-India relationship and in particular their role in the passage of the landmark civilian nuclear deal.

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