The United States reminded India of the joint commitment of the two countries to ratify the Paris climate agreement before the end of the year when President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Laos.
“The leaders noted our joint commitment, fulfilled by the US in advance of the G20 Leaders' Summit, to join the Paris Agreement this year,” a White House official said on Wednesday, giving a more detailed account of the meeting of the two leaders.
Implicit in the statement was an expectation from the US to see India fulfil its end of the commitment. The US announced it had ratified the agreement, which was signed by 180 parties at the meet in Paris last December, during Obama’s visit to China for the G-20 meeting.
In all, 27 countries have ratified the deal so far and 28 more ratifications are needed for it to go into force.
India, which is a signatory to the agreement and supports every aspect of it, has made its ratification conditional to the US helping it gain membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-member group that controls trade in nuclear material and equipment around the world.
India’s admission was blocked by China and a few other countries at the group’s last plenary in Seoul, ostensibly because it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which recognises only five countries as nuclear weapon states - the US, Britain, France, China and Russia.
The US is supporting India’s membership of the NSG — and Obama “underscored” it at his meeting with Modi, the official said — but New Delhi believes Washington can do more to bring around countries opposing it.
As the US did in 2008, to bring around member countries of the same group opposing a waiver for India to allow it to purchase nuclear equipment and material needed for plants it proposed to contract under the civil nuclear deal with the US.
The US has said it expects to see India become a member by the end of the year.