India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, making his second visit to the White House in two years, and his fourth visit to the United States since he was elected Prime Minister of India only two years ago, announced a crucial step toward ratification of the Paris Agreement to limit greenhouse gases, bringing the accord close to full implementation, giving a jolt of momentum to the international fight to curb global warming.
President Barack Obama welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House for their seventh meeting since Modi took office in 2014, underscoring the warm relationship between the two leaders and the world’s largest democracies. Modi is to address the U.S. Congress on Wednesday. “We discussed how we can, as quickly as possible, bring the Paris Agreement into force,” Obama told reporters during talks in the Oval Office.
So far, countries representing about 50 percent of global emissions have announced that they will submit legal paperwork to the United Nations documenting their compliance with the deal. The pact will become binding when at least 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions formally join. The inclusion of India, the world’s third-largest emitter after China and the United States, would guarantee that the deal will go into effect before the next American president takes office.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had arrived in Washington, DC June 6 on a three-day visit, met with Obama at the White House in the morning, and the two then had a working lunch. The two countries also pledged to expand military cooperation and outlined principles for cooperation on cyber issues.
Following the meeting, the leaders of the world’s largest democracies also announced the agreement to cut the use of hydrofluorocarbons, potent planet-warming chemicals produced by coolants in refrigerators and air-conditioners.
Both the nations announced that they intended to complete a deal in which India will buy six nuclear reactors from Westinghouse by June 2017, fulfilling an agreement struck in 2005 by President George W. Bush. The price is still under discussion, but more difficult issues like liability have been resolved. Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Washington, DC June 6 on a three-day visit.
Economic cooperation was also on the list for Tuesday’s meeting, with Modi expected to meet with business leaders. India has the world’s fastest-growing large economy, but it is not growing fast enough to provide jobs to even a significant fraction of the one million people entering the work force there every month.
U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal were among the top officials present at the base to receive Prime Minister Modi.
“India and USA are natural partners, two vibrant democracies that celebrate their diversity and pluralism. Strong India-USA ties benefit not only our two nations but also the entire world,” Modi had said.