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Update on US-India Bilateral Negotiations


by Sumeru Chatterjee, India

India on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the joint Indo-U.S. statement, particularly the portion on climate change, which “represents an increased degree of congruence” in the way the two countries approach the challenge.

Economy, energy, environment, education and empowerment — the India-US relationship will accord new emphasis to these areas, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, adding that ties in defense, security and counter-terrorism will be consolidated.

On the road to Copenhagen, leaders of both countries reaffirmed their commitment to the UNFCCC and the Bali Action Plan as the basis for negotiations at the Conference of Parties next month.

“Our agenda of bilateral cooperation is extremely wide-ranging,” he said, as it derives “its vitality from recognition of the enormous potential for mutually beneficial cooperation and a sense of shared responsibility to work towards addressing global challenges”. There is also a clear commitment to a comprehensive and substantive outcome at Copenhagen.

The joint statement commits developed countries such as the U.S. to take on economy-wide emission reduction targets, while developing countries should take mitigation actions which are specific in nature such as India’s renewal energy plan or afforestation target.

“We have always said that as an open and democratic society India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change will be implemented in a transparent manner, with domestic scrutiny including in Parliament,” said the official spokesperson. For mitigation actions that are supported by finance, technology and capacity building there can be international scrutiny of both actions and support. “For unsupported actions we are willing to reflect these to the UNFCCC through national communications.” These are the “processes” for ensuring transparency.

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