Modi demonstrated Indian leadership on climate change: White House

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Washington, Jun 7: Notwithstanding a "difficult political" climate in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi "demonstrated" the country's leadership on the issue of climate change, the White House has said ahead of his crucial meeting with US President Barack Obama.

During his Oval Office meeting with Modi today, Obama is expected to discuss the economic ties along with national security, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday. Earnest, however, did not divulge on the possible outcome of the meeting.

PM Narendra Modi

"I don't have anything to say about potential deliverables yet. We may have more on this tomorrow, obviously. I can tell you that there are a couple of things that the President is interested in discussing the Prime Minister Modi," he said.

"The first is obviously the important role that India played in completing an international climate change agreement. We discussed back in December in Paris that India was going to play an important role in making important commitments to this agreement that would ensure that the world came together to confront this challenge," the presidential spokesman said.

Obama had an opportunity to meet Modi and the rest of the Indian delegation to those negotiations, to talk over what role India could play and what commitments India could make.

"Obviously, this is a situation where Prime Minister Modi demonstrated a lot of leadership even in the face of a difficult political climate back home. He committed his country to standards that will be good for the Indian people, but more importantly, will be good for the rest of the world, too," Earnest said.

"So obviously, the President has a lot of respect for the way that Prime Minister Modi has handled this issue. And I would anticipate that they'll have a discussion about what more the US and India can do to advance the climate agenda," he said.

"I would expect the US and India to discuss the economic ties between our two countries. The economic relationship between the two countries is an important one. It is a relationship that benefits both our citizens. So I would anticipate a discussion of some economic issues," he said while previewing the seventh meeting between the two leaders.

"There obviously are some important national security issues as well. We have seen in recent years greater and closer coordination between US national security officials and Indian national security officials.

"The president is certainly interested in trying to deepen and strengthen those ties because it would enhance the national security of both our countries," he said, adding that the two leaders have got a pretty full agenda.

Responding to a question, Earnest said the US is unlikely to request India to ratify the climate change agreement by the end of the year.

"What I don't know is the process that India has to go through in order to ratify the agreement. So I don't know whether or not the President will be making that specific request," he said.

"But the role that India has played thus far in helping the international committee come to an agreement has been significant, and we obviously would expect India moving forward to continue to play an important role in the international community in making progress, even beyond the agreement that was signed, or that was reached back in December," Earnest said.

PTI

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