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India-US disagree on climate deal, agree to power nuke

modiobamaNEW DELHI: India and the US failed to hammer out a comprehensive climate deal as Prime Minister Narendra Modi dismissed talk of pressure to ink a pact on climate change similar to a US-China agreement on emission cuts, but the two countries agreed to work together for a successful climate conference in Paris this year.

Modi said pressure from any country or person does not affect India.

“Global warming was itself a pressure. It is the responsibility of those, who are concerned about the future generation to become conscious about climate change and adopt policies so that we are able to give a good future and good environment to the next generation,” he said.

A joint statement after a meeting between Modi and US President Barack Obama emphasised on the two countries working together to conclude an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in 2015.

Obama said the two leaders had made a “personal commitment” to work together and pursue a strong global climate agreement at the event and added that India’s voice was important for a strong agreement.

But there was no concrete climate deal as the United States had asked India to make a commitment for reducing emissions.

No emission deal with India could stonewall the Paris climate conference slated for December this year but officials are confident about achieving some breakthrough as the two countries have decided to talk on the issue in the coming months.

Obama also said the two countries have agreed to make “concrete progress” in phasing out major greenhouse gases like refrigerating coolant HFC apart from expanding solar energy initiatives and launching joint projects to improve air quality in Indian cities.

The statement outlined the areas of bilateral cooperation, especially in the area of adaptation to climate change, joint research and technology innovation, and energy efficiency solutions.

The two countries also decided to take forward an existing clean energy pact, called Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE), for research and deployment and increasing the potential of foreign investment in India’s clean energy sector.

Nuclear pact

Meanwhile hours after Obama touched down in India on Sunday, he and Modi announced a big step forward in a nuclear deal that has become the cornerstone of ties between the world’s biggest democracies.

It was a dramatic progress in the stalled six-year-old civilian nuclear agreement. In addition the two sides also operationalised joint production of key defence equipment, spoke of a new vision for the Asia Pacific, where rival China is flexing its muscles, strengthened  cooperation in clean energy and pledged to fight terror.

The United States also offered its much-needed support to India’s membership of four global exporter groups that deal in the most sensitive weapons technology.

“We have reached breakthrough understandings on two issues that were holding up our ability to fully implement the civil nuclear agreement… And we hope to begin commercial trade soon,” Obama told a packed news conference at Hyderabad House near Delhi’s iconic India Gate.

Sources said that the two sides had negotiated late into the previous night to hammer out a deal.

The Americans have given up their demand to track what happens to the nuclear fuel that they supply to India; they have also agreed to New Delhi’s proposal of setting up a Rs. 1,500-crore “insurance pool” that will indemnify US suppliers.

American companies have stayed away from the Indian nuclear sector because of Indian laws that hold suppliers, not just the operator, liable if an accident occurs.

At stake is a US$85-billion programme to increase nuclear capacity to 63,000 MW from 4,780 MW, which could form a key part of Modi’s pet ‘Make in India’ drive and offer megabucks in contracts to US companies. –  From the Hindustan Times

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