NEW DELHI (TIP): India and the US have worked out the terms of reference for building the next Indian aircraft carrier with US technology.
This has been pushed through after the visit of US defence secretary Ash Carter. As both countries prepare for a September round of strategic dialogue in Washington DC, India is preparing to send a team to speed up talks on the aircraft carrier and the Light Combat Aircraft jet engine, which is also slated to be built with US assistance.
The agenda has been set in the two summits held in September and January, but the key will be checking off the ambitious bucket list of projects.
This will be the first strategic dialogue to be held in the new 2+2 format, including the foreign and commerce ministers. From the US side, it will be John Kerry and Penny Pritzker, commerce secretary, rather than Michael Froman their chief trade negotiator, who is generally believed to take a dim view of India and its trade practices. The US and India are expected to take forward earlier agreements on smart cities, which is likely to get priority.
This year India-US relations will be tested on climate change as the Paris climate change summit, COP 21 looms. India will be under unprecedented pressure to declare ambitious emission targets. Climate change is a legacy issue for Barack Obama and he’s expected to push hard.
China has been smarter – first, by clinching a climate deal with the US during Obama’s visit, and second, by declaring their INDC (intended nationally determined contributions) just before a meeting with the French president, which made it seem like it was a special gesture by China. India tried to match it somewhat with an energy deal when Barack Obama visited India.
Even though India is far below China on per capita emissions, India will be cynosure of global, particularly US attention when it does finalize and announce its INDC. Officials expect this to be done in the coming weeks.