Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday India and the US shared an “uncompromising commitment on climate change” without hurting development, thanking President Barack Obama for extending support to New Delhi’s demand for a permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council.
In their fifth meeting in about a year, Modi and Obama discussed a host of issues, including stepping up economic engagement and climate change, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The two leaders pushed ahead with cooperation in the areas of security, counter-terrorism, defence and economy.
Obama warmly received Modi by hugging him before the meeting that gave the two leaders an opportunity to build on the discussions they had in New Delhi in January when Obama travelled to India to attend the Republic Day Parade as its chief guest.
“Our partnership addresses a broad range of strategic and security concerns.
“Our extraordinary bilateral partnership in the energy sector focuses on clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency,” Modi said as the Indian foreign ministry defined the partnership with the US as one that will define the 21st century.
For his part, Obama praised Modi for his commitment to clean energy and said Indian leadership on climate change would be critical for the decades to come.
“Much of our discussion today focused on the upcoming climate conference in Paris,” Obama said. “We agree that this is a critical issue for the world, and all of us have responsibilities. We are encouraged by the aggressive nature of (…) Modi’s commitment to clean energy.”
The November 30-December 11 Conference of the Parties in Paris will be the latest attempt by world leaders to forge a deal intended to avert more heatwaves, floods and rising seas following the failure of talks in Copenhagen in 2009.
India and other developing nations want developed countries to shoulder a larger share of pollution burden and larger emission cuts.
“In India, our measures include not just a plan to add 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 but a development strategy that will enable us to rendition to a more sustainable energy mix,” Modi said.
“We look forward to comprehensive and concrete outcome in Paris with a positive agenda on combating climate…,” Modi said. India is expected to announce its carbon-emission reduction target on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti.
Modi arrived in the US last Wednesday on a five-day official visit during which he travelled to Silicon Valley and met top IT CEOs of the region and also addressed a meeting of some 18,000 Indian Americans in San Jose.
In his address at the UN Sustainable Development Summit last Friday, Modi had highlighted India’s goals for fighting climate change and said change was necessary in the UNSC to keep it relevant, taking a stand for the expansion of membership in the council.
India was also appreciative of continued US support for helping it become a member of the UNSC and other various international export control regimes such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime within a time-frame. Membership of some of these groups would allow India a free access to sensitive dual-use technology.
Modi also said the two countries would continue to work on a bilateral investment treaty, which has been in the pipeline for a while, and Totalization Agreement to repatriate to India social security contributions of Indians working in the US.
Earlier in the day, Modi held bilateral meetings with his British counterpart David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.
Modi also got a surprise visitor when Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates dropped by during his bilateral talks with Hollande.
“Look who dropped by! Missed in Silicon Valley, the original tech entrepreneur @BillGates says hello to PM & President,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of Modi, Hollande and Gates engaged in discussions.
(With agency inputs)