NEW DELHI -- Even as they resist persistent pressure from Western nations to rein in their carbon emissions, India and China are warming up to each other on the contentious climate change issue. The rare display of solidarity is all the more noteworthy given the two Asian giants' generally tenuous relationship, as well as previous fractiousness regarding which one should do more to combat global warming.
However, at the climax of a four-day visit to China last week to discuss a wide range of bilateral environmental issues, India's Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh felt upbeat enough to proclaim that India and China are "standing 100 percent together" on issues of climate change, and that "India feels closer to China than the United States in this regard."
Ramesh's optimism, Indian experts believe, stems from a fairly successful China trip, one that led him to declare that "India considers China its most important ally in the Copenhagen negotiations." The development is all the more significant given the promise that India has managed to extract from China that the latter will not strike any deal with the United States that could undermine India's negotiating position at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change summit in Copenhagen this December. China has also assured India that its standing agreements with the U.S. only reflect engagements in specific areas like energy efficiency and renewable energy, and that there was no hidden side-deal on carbon emissions that may impact India negatively.