No way forward on climate fund, H1B visas, IPR issues

Renewable energy fund has run into rough weather

Updated - November 17, 2021 12:47 am IST

Published - January 24, 2015 12:24 am IST - NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON:

Despite the optimism being generated ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit, The Hindu has learnt that “breakthroughs” on several key agreements are being held back because of domestic politics in both New Delhi and Washington.

“We are looking to increase our cooperation in pursuit of developing clean energy, but also pursuing a successful and ambitious round of climate negotiations this year leading into Paris,” U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes had told journalists on a teleconference this week, although it is unclear how they would proceed, given President Obama’s difficulties with the UN Climate fund already.

A senior official told The Hindu that a multi-billion dollar renewable energy fund due to be announced during the visit has run into rough weather over President Obama’s inability to clear a $3 billion commitment announced for the UN Climate Change Green fund

Row over H1B visas Similiarly, Indian officials doubt that President Obama will be able to announce the Bilateral Totalisation agreement and the liberalisation of H1B visas, as India has been demanding during this visit. In his State of the Union address this week, Mr. Obama made it clear that he would stick to the Democrat line on protecting American businesses and American labour, committing “to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.”

“Signing the Totalisation agreement, that would free up about $ 3 billion Indian money that is tied up in U.S. Social security is high on our agenda, as well as the H1B issue for Indians working in the U.S.,” said Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, speaking at the Indian Today Conclave on Friday. Acknowledging that the “ordinance route” for insurance FDI, GST , and other issues could only be temporary, Mr. Sinha said the government was “exploring several alternatives” from reaching out to opposition parties in both houses to clear the ordinances, to holding a joint session of parliament where the reforms could pass muster.

Rajya Sabha hurdle In a recent interview to the Financial Times , Mr. Sinha said the change in numbers in the Rajya Sabha, that would allow the NDA to push such legislation through “could take a couple of years”.

The numbers in upper house of Parliament are also holding up the government on the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal being implemented, something both Mr Modi and Mr Obama committed to when they met in Washington. Nuclear negotiators have met three times since December, in Delhi, Vienna and London to try and find a way out of the impasse over India’s supplier liability law, disclosed External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin on Thursday. “What is being discussed is how within the four walls of our legal framework, our legislation, we can provide assurances to our partners in the United States of any concerns that they may have either through their vendors or their lawyers.

Obama's Visit to India

Day 1: January 25, 2015

  • » Arrival in the morning
  • » Rashtrapathi Bhavan Ceremonial
  • » Homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat
  • » Bilateral discussions with PM Narendra Modi,    followed by a luncheon
  • » Meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee
  • » Banquet hosted by the President

Day 2: January 26, 2015

  • » Republic Day function
  • » Rashtrapathi Bhavan Ceremonial
  • » 'At home' with Pranab Mukherjee
  • » Round table with CEO's

Day 3: January 27, 2015

  • » To address a select gathering
  • » Visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal
  • » Back to Delhi
  • » Leaves for the US
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