United States and India Embark on a Green Partnership

WASHINGTON, DC, November 24, 2009 (ENS) – President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today reaffirmed the global strategic partnership between the United States and India and launched a new and greener phase in their relationship.

Recognizing that energy security, food security, climate change are interlinked, and that eliminating poverty and ensuring sustainable development and a clean energy future are among the foremost global objectives, the two leaders agreed to enter into a Green Partnership to address these global challenges.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, left, and President Barack Obama at The White House (Photo by Pete Souza courtesy The White House)

“We’ve made progress in confronting climate change,” President Obama said in a joint news conference with Prime Minister Singh today. “We agreed to a series of important new efforts: a clean energy initiative that will create jobs and improve people’s access to cleaner, more affordable energy; a green partnership to reduce poverty through sustainable and equitable development; and an historic effort to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.

With just two weeks until the beginning of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, President Obama used language that signals what he expects will be accomplished there, and it will not be a legally binding treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s also essential,” President Obama said, “that all countries do what is necessary to reach a strong operational agreement that will confront the threat of climate change while serving as a stepping-stone to a legally binding treaty.”

“We reaffirmed that an agreement in Copenhagen should be comprehensive and cover all the issues under negotiation,” President Obama told reporters. “We resolved to take significant national mitigation actions that will strengthen the world’s ability to combat climate change. We agreed to stand by these commitments with full transparency through appropriate processes as to their implementation.”

“All this builds on the progress that we made in Beijing, and it takes us one step closer to a successful outcome in Copenhagen,” the President said.

The outcome at Copenhagen should reflect the need for “substantially scaled-up financial resources to support mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, in particular, for the poorest and most vulnerable,” the two leaders said.

It should also include measures for promoting technology development, dissemination and transfer as well as capacity building, including consideration of a center or a network of centers to support and stimulate climate innovation.

The two leaders resolved to take significant national mitigation actionswithin their own countries that will strengthen the world’s ability to combat climate change and resolved to stand by these commitments.

Recognizing the need to create the clean energy economy of the 21st century, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama agreed to launch a Clean Energy and Climate Change Initiative to improve the lives of the people of both countries by developing and improving access to technologies that make energy cleaner, affordable and more efficient.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at The White House (Photo courtesy The White House)

The Initiative will include cooperation in wind and solar energy, second generation biofuels, unconventional gas, energy efficiency, and clean coal technologies including carbon capture and storage.

Prime Minister Singh said, “We welcome the President’s commitment to a major program for promotion of renewable energy, and I drew his attention to India’s own ambitious national action plan on climate change, which has eight national missions covering both mitigation and adaptation.”

“Just as we partnered each other in the shaping of the knowledge economy, we have the opportunity today to become partners in developing the green economy of the future,” the Indian leader said. “I underlined India’s desire to benefit from clean and energy-efficient technologies from the United States. Our partnership will contribute to global efforts to combat climate change and achieve energy security.”

The two leaders intend to take practical steps to promote global food security, including by advancing the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative agreed at the G8 summit in July.

They looked forward to increasing India-U.S. agricultural cooperation with the purpose of promoting agricultural research, human resources capacity building, natural resource management, agri-business and food processing, and collaborative research for increasing food productivity.

This cooperation would contribute to joint development of technology that would improve weather forecasting, including predicting monsoons, and technology that would contribute to food productivity and food security efforts in India.

They agreed to collaborate in the application of their space technology and related scientific capabilities in outer space and for development purposes, including in the field of agriculture.

Dr. Singh and President Obama confer in the Oval Office (Photo courtesy The White House)

President Obama and Prime Minister Singh reaffirmed their shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and pledged to work together, as leaders of responsible states with advanced nuclear technology, for global non-proliferation, and universal, non-discriminatory and complete nuclear disarmament.

President Obama said, “I welcomed the Prime Minister’s support for the non-proliferation agenda that I laid out in Prague, and I look forward to India’s participation in our nuclear security summit next year, as well as India’s participation as a full partner in our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The Indian leader said, “We will work with the United States and other countries for the success of the nuclear security summit, which President Obama is hosting next April.”

India reaffirmed its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. The United States reaffirmed its testing moratorium and its commitment to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and bring it into force at an early date.

In September, Prime Minister Singh said that India will join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, adding that nuclear weapons are an integral part of its national security.

Singh said India’s nuclear energy industry is poised for major expansion, which he expects will reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil and help global efforts to combat climate change.

President Obama and Prime Minister Singh said they would work to realize the full potential of the India-U.S. Agreement for Cooperation concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy through the implementation of its provisions.

They agreed to expedite U.S. firms’ participation in the implementation of this agreement and to facilitate the transfer of civilian nuclear technologies to India.

“The lifting of U.S. export controls on high technology exports to India will open vast opportunities for giant research and development efforts,” said Prime Minister Singh. “It will enable U.S. industry to benefit from the rapid economic and technological transformation that is now underway in our country.”

The two leaders then celebrated their renewed partnership tonight at the first state dinner of the Obama presidency.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2009. All rights reserved.

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