Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Barack Obama will be meeting on the sidelines of the Paris conference on climate change on Monday, where the two leaders are expected to review progress in bilateral ties and discuss regional and global issues.
The two leaders are expected to meet at 2.45pm local time Paris on the sidelines of the crucial climate change conference.
The meeting with Modi is Obama’s only third bilateral in Paris scheduled so far. His first is with China’s Xi Jinping early on Monday morning and the second with French host Francois Hollande.
“We have been engaging with India through the year in determining how they can contribute constructively to a successful outcome in Paris,” Ben Rhodes, US deputy national security adviser, had told reporters earlier on Wednesday.
Immediately after the Paris bilateral, the two leaders will be joined by French President Francois Hollande along with other leaders and members of the private sector for Mission Innovation Event, the White House said.
Obama arrived in Paris late on Sunday night amid an unprecedented security, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack earlier this month.
The meeting would be a continuation of the conversation the two leaders have been having, first during Obama’s January visit, then on the sidelines of the UN general assembly and recent multilateral summits they both attended. It will be the leaders’ a record 6th bilateral meet since Modi came to power in May 2014.
No new announcements are expected from this meeting, although they are likely to make a brief media appearance, according to the US President’s schedule released by the White House.
The White House official in charge of climate change Paul Bodnar said the purpose of these meetings was to “make sure that the leaders are on the same page about our objectives and strategy going into these final two weeks of negotiations”.
India and China are two of US’s most important partners in dealing with global climate change, Bodnar said, adding, the President has built an important partnership with President Xi and has “worked closely with Prime Minister Modi”.
The Paris climate change conference -- also known as Conference of Parties (CoP-21) -- is set to kick off on Monday in Paris and will go on till December 11.
Paris climate conference will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding universal agreement on climate change with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants -- including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.
Bilateral meet an attempt to keep India, China in sight and in line?
China had tried to isolate the US at the climate change negations in Copenhagen in 2009 and called a secret meeting with leaders of India, then prime minister Manmohan Singh, South Africa and Brazil.
Obama and his officials had barged into the room demanding to join the negotiations, details of which were recounted by the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in her memoir “Hard Choices”.
“Worse, we learned that (then Chinese premier Wen Jiabo)... had called a ‘secret’ meeting with the Indians, Brazilians, and South Africans to stop, or at least dilute, the kind of agreement the United States was seeking. When we couldn’t find any of the leaders of those countries, we knew something was amiss and sent out members of our team to canvass the conference centre,” she writes.
“Eventually they discovered the meeting’s location. After exchanging looks of ‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’ the President and I set off through the long hallways of the sprawling Nordic convention center, with a train of experts and advisors scrambling to keep up.”
Officials made no mention of that, in Clinton’s words, “footcade”, at the Tuesday briefing. But the four countries that went rogue then in Copenhagen, according to the US, found several mentions at the briefing.
(With inputs from PTI)