Political ties may suffer, says former U.S. official

Putting the blame on India unfair: Nisha Biswal

Updated - June 03, 2017 07:49 am IST

Published - June 02, 2017 10:14 pm IST - Washington

Nisha Biswal

Nisha Biswal

President Donald Trump’s remarks about India in justification of his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement is unfair and they leave bilateral ties at the government-to-government level in a limbo, former Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal has said.

Multilevel cooperation between India and the U.S. in climate change mitigation will continue despite the President’s decision to pull America out from the Paris pact, Ms. Biswal said.

“But the relationship between our two governments, and at the head of state is right now an open question,” she said, adding, “it is not helpful for the President to justify his decision to pull out by unfairly blaming India.” “The decision by President Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Accord was met with disappointment from around the world. The U.S.-India partnership was a key component of the Agreement and India, along with China, France and many others are key stakeholders.

“While the accord is an agreement among nations, its success involves much more than the commitment of Presidents and Prime Ministers.

“It involves the active engagement of cities and states to plan and incentivise development in sustainable ways, it involves academic and research institutions advancing new technologies to combat and mitigate climate change, it involves businesses innovating sustainable supply chains, product lines and creating a thriving new market for clean technologies.

“In all these areas, the U.S. will continue to lead, despite the President’s decision. And that provides tremendous scope for the U.S. and India to continue to be key collaborators and partners,” Ms. Biswal, who was the highest-ranking official in overseeing ties with India in the Obama administration, told The Hindu .

"Lamentable and counterproductive."

Ashley J. Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D C said Mr. Trump's decision to walk out of Paris is both "lamentable and counterproductive." "Lamentable because it fails to recognise the dangers posed by climate change for U.S. interests, and counterproductive because it cedes U.S. leadership in ways that will ultimately undermine Trump's own "America First" agenda. It is also unfortunate insofar as it pulls the rug from under one important area of US-Indian cooperation: PM Modi had gone to great lengths to help achieve a global consensus on climate change in part on the assumption that the United States and India would work together for the greater good. With this dimension of cooperation being absent, India will be confined largely to narrow bilateral interactions with the United States - however important these are, they will not provide sufficient opportunities to help the US-India partnership reach its fullest potential."

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