Even if it is only the climate change issue, it seems like Indo-US relations are making a paradigm shift from deal breaking to deal making.
Sources said that on climate change and energy security there has been a meeting of minds between New Delhi and Washington.
India is expected to link the issue of climate change commitments to the case for greater American cooperation on the supply of nuclear power. In emphasizing the need to link the two, India hopes to send across a message that it wants to President Barack Obama in the run-up to next month’s Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
India is committed to making a strategic shift from using carbon fuels to renewable and clean fuel of which the civilian nuclear cooperation deal is one dimension and the US is appreciative of New Delhi’s efforts in that direction.
Indian officials here have stated that New Delhi and Washington are clear that challenges of both climate change and energy security are interlinked and will need to be worked on simultaneously.
Over the next two days, some partnership initiatives are likely to be announced that will help India move towards adopting and using cleaner nuclear, solar, and wind energy sources.
While this means big business opportunities for American firms dealing with clean energy, it also means that India’s growing energy requirements will be met in an environment friendly manner.
The 2005 US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, which is in its penultimate stages of culmination before activation, opens up a 150 billion dollar market in Indian power plants.
Lining up to mop up deals are companies such as General Electric Co and Westinghouse Electric Co.
The American establishment, which so far was impervious to arguments put forward by developing countries that clean technology should aid development in developing countries and not hinders progress, is now more appreciative about such arguments.
Sources said that on India’s part it has not been laying down red lines and markers during negotiations. Nothing is off the table other than the fact that whatever is politically binding should be under the UN convention and the Bali Action Plan.
There was serious an apprehension in the US that India might resist US-led moves at the Copenhagen summit in December 2009, but appears the Indian side might be more conciliatory than expected.
The Indian side is expected to suggest that if the US wants India to speedily reduce carbon emissions, its energy security needs would have to be met to facilitate the shift from carbon-based sources to cleaner nuclear, solar, and wind energy sources.
India is expecting this second visit by Dr. Manmohan Singh to Washington in four-and-a-half-years to come up with practical collaborative efforts in the transfer of technology to enable New Delhi to meet its climate change commitments.
Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia from the Indian side and Steven Chu, Energy Secretary, from the American side, will lead their respective teams in the discussions.
India will project the view that national missions such as the mission on solar energy are potentially more energy efficient in meeting climate change targets.
New Delhi will also emphasize in talks here that to ensure a legally binding outcome, the obligations between developed and developing countries must be carefully structured. The US and other developed countries will have do their bit in terms of offering finance and technology to meet these energy and climate-change related targets.