Energy policy, climate change on the agenda for Obama

PTI Washington | Updated on January 24, 2018

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi shaking hands with President Barack Obama during his visit to the US last year. (file photo)

Describing the India visit of President Barack Obama as a “seminal moment” for bilateral ties, a senior White House official has said America wanted to turn the “extraordinary” potential of their relationship into concrete benefits for the people of the two countries.

Days ahead of the trip, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said energy policy and climate change will rank as top agenda items as US negotiators lay the groundwork for an international climate agreement ahead of a December UN summit in Paris.

He also identified the economy, defence and regional and global issues as key matters of discussion between the two leaders when they meet later this week.

Obama will be travelling this Saturday to New Delhi and take his place next to India’s leaders on January 26 to witness the pageantry of Republic Day celebrations.

“As the world’s two largest democracies, there’s extraordinary potential in this relationship. We want to turn this potential into concrete benefits for our people. And so this trip comes at a time when we have a growing agenda with India,” Rhodes told reporters during a conference call.

“Our goal is to leave this relationship in a fundamentally different place than it was when President Obama took office, and when Prime Minister Modi assumed charge. We believe that we have a unique moment of opportunity to have that type of breakthrough,” he said.

Rhodes said a lot of what the President wanted to get done over the course of the next two years will benefit greatly from closer cooperation with India.

He noted that India has been a top foreign policy priority for the Obama Administration and US-India cooperation can significantly advance American interests in terms of promoting economic ties and increased exports to a growing market.

“That’s based on our belief that our Asia-Pacific policy benefits from closer ties with India, and it’s also based on our cooperation on a broad range of global issues,” he said.

Dwelling on the key agendas for the Modi-Obama talks, Rhodes said, “We are looking to increase our cooperation in pursuit of developing clean energy, but also pursuing a successful and ambitious round of climate negotiations this year, leading in to Paris.”

Published on January 22, 2015

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