CUTS International Washington DC Center
Monthly Brief #55, October 2022
COP 27: Towards a Stronger Climate Action Plan
In 2022, our planet has faced surges in temperatures and other extreme weather conditions like droughts, floods and heat waves, each having drastic spillover effects globally with huge losses of human and animal lives. It was at the Rio Earth summit, in 1992, that the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) came into existence and Conference of Parties (COPs) were initiated to tackle climate change.
The recent geopolitical crisis in Eurasia, lack of a serious approach to tackle climate change, ineffective COP 26 summit outcomes, non fulfilment in the Paris Agreement financing goals, and growing disparity and inequality among nations have further aggravated the issue of climate change.
Staying on board with the targets set for 2030 and beyond, there needs to be a careful relook at the commitments and goals achieved since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. With very little time in hand, the international community should and must come together to rise up to the challenge. Future movement should be situated in the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDRC), in order to share the burden equitably.
India has taken a step in the right direction by launching a hallmark initiative “Mission LiFE” (Lifestyle for Environment) last month. This mission takes inspiration from India’s age-old sustainable practices, and seeks to promote individual and collective action to protect and preserve the environment. The mantra of “3Rs – Reuse, Reduce and Recycle” as reiterated by the Indian Prime Minister alongside the UN Secretary-General in Kevadia, India has set the ball rolling in the right direction.
This year’s Bonn Climate Change Conference in June ended in an impasse. The North and South could not come to mutually agreeable terms on the question of responsibility for loss and damage compensation, and individual commitments.
The upcoming COP 27 in Egypt is an opportunity to break the deadlock and accelerate the commitments on mitigation actions that have been announced but have not made much progress. We hope that countries reach a consensus at the end of the meeting with agreement on reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, checking the sea level rise and a roadmap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
A stronger climate action plan is the way forward for mitigating increasing global heat waves and other extreme weather catastrophes. This calls for innovation and investment in this field with multilateral groupings, along with the public and private sectors playing their role. The global community should also look at various opportunities to engage and work jointly towards a greener and cleaner energy-sustained future. Let me conclude with the famous saying by Mahatma Gandhi: “There is enough on this earth for everybody’s need but not greed”.
Pradeep S. Mehta

P.S. All eyes will be on the G20 Summit which will be held in Bali in mid-November. Can the G20 lay out a roadmap for achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth?

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India-US trade ties enter the fast lane
On the trade and business front too, the flow of foreign investments into India is on the upswing. A veteran on India-US trade and business, Rick Rossow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said, “Despite the hiccups on both sides due to protectionist agenda, the real commercial relationship is booming. For instance, bilateral goods trade hit US$131 billion in the 12 months up to August 2022, a 29 percent year-on-year increase”.

Foreign trade will help India become US$30 trillion economy
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on October 28, 2022 said foreign trade will help India become a US$30-trillion economy with a per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$15,000. India is a bright spot in the world today when several other countries are in recession and facing severe inflation, which is five times higher than normal in some countries.

Whenever any company gets an Indian on board, its value goes up
Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s ambassador to the US said that this is an important moment in the Indo-US ties. We are doing a record trade of US$160 billion, making US the largest trading partner of the country, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Sandhu, is clearly upbeat about the growing relationship between the two largest democracies of the world.

IPEF with countries like India, Australia is a better fit for today
According to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is a better fit for today than the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). She said countries are looking for solutions to supply chain snarls caused by the coronavirus and the effects on world energy and food markets from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The desire among nations to promote resilience, sustainability and inclusion is quite different from the pressures and the aspirations that we were pursuing just five, seven, ten years ago when we were negotiating what is now the CPTPP.


India-US partnership on clean energy is now institutionalised: Hardeep Puri
Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, co-chaired the US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (Paywall) ministerial with his American counterpart, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and engaged with a range of private sector stakeholders to deepen energy collaboration, both in terms of exploration and production and green hydrogen.

Climate responsibility
A few days from now the 27th Conference of Parties (COP 27) to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (Paywall) will take place in Sharm El Sheikh, a pleasant sea resort in Egypt. Two issues may play an important role in COP 27 - further commitments on global responsibility for loss and damage compensation and some acceleration of commitments on mitigation actions that have already been announced.
India makes strong pitch to US firms for investing in oil and gas production
India is the world's 4th largest oil importer and the demand is expected to rise driven by an increase in India's per capita consumption of energy which currently stands at one-third of the global average. India wants to be the new destination for global energy players. Oil producers worldwide are eager to gain a foothold in India where fuel demand is expected to keep rising as the country's economy grows.

How US renewable energy adoption compares to other major emitters
On August 16, 2022 US President Joe Biden signed The Inflation Reduction Act. In addition to targeting areas such as deficit reduction, prescription drug pricing, and access to health care, lawmakers designed the act to help reshape the US energy industry by providing more access to fossil fuel alternatives. The act aims to place the US on a path to a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.


India is weaning itself off Russia and countering China
The India-Australia relationship (Paywall) has come an enormous way over the past decade, both bilaterally and through the Quad. The relationship’s improvement has been its focus on security. India grew to see China as a far greater threat than the US and its allies did, including Australia. India’s relationship with the Soviet Union and then Russia was borne out of necessity as it sought essential defence technology that it was unable to get elsewhere.

Civil Society role imperative in advancing inclusive development in Indo-Pacific region
Given the various developments taking place in the Indo-Pacific region and emergent challenges, there is a vital need for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) of the region to come together to exchange information and experiences. This was the unanimous view of experts who came together virtually to launch the Indo-Pacific Civil Society Forum (IPCSF), an initiative of CUTS International, a global public policy research and advocacy organisation.

‘Ikigai’: Togetherness is the hallmark of expanding India-Japan relations
The ‘Asian Century’ met with a bump this year with the untimely passing away of the "great friend of India" and the "progenitor" of the Indo-Pacific concept, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The void left by him in global diplomacy may take a while to fill but the show must go on and his legacy should continue. Since 1952, the bilateral relations between India and Japan have been robust and growing steadily.

India targeting Rs 35,000 crore exports of defence products by 2025: Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said India registered defence exports worth Rs 8,000 crore in six months of the current financial year and aims to achieve the target of outbound shipments of Rs 35,000 crore by 2025. India is progressing speedily on the path to achieve global standards of design, development and manufacturing of defence equipment.


Nations must focus on ways to stop use of new technologies by terror groups: Jaishankar
India on October 29, 2022 pitched for global efforts to stop possible misuse of new technologies such as encrypted messaging and crypto-currency by "non-state actors" said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee cautioning that the social media platforms have turned into potent instruments in the "toolkit" of terror groups. He further said that terrorist groups, their "ideological fellow-travellers" and "lone wolf" attackers have significantly enhanced capabilities by gaining access to the new technologies.

The chips are getting high: US gets its act together in denying China technology
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) under the US Department of Commerce announced changes to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). These pertained to the implementation of controls on advanced Computing Integrated Circuits (ICs), computer commodities that contain ICs, and certain semiconductor manufacturing (Paywall) items along with expanded controls on transactions involving items for supercomputer and semiconductor manufacturing.

India’s tech regulation onslaught poses dilemma for US companies
The continuing tussle between India and US social media companies shows how difficult it is to rein in technology platforms’ outsize - and sometimes pernicious - influence on public discourse without radically enhancing governments’ power to police speech. In June, 2022 the Indian government announced plans for the formation of a Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC), to hear users’ complaints against technology platforms’ content-moderation decisions.
Important for India and US to work together in science and technology: NSF Director
National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said India and the US have “a natural synergy” and similar aspirations and it is important for them to work together in the field of science and technology not only for the welfare of their own people but also to solve global problems. Through global collaborations, we can then devise solutions that can be global, but also applicable for local situation.


Strengthening Ties at Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue
External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar held 13th Foreign Minister’ Framework Dialogue with his Australian counterpart Penny Wong in Canberra on October 10, 2022. The two countries which are Comprehensive Strategic Partners and Quad partners, have common ambition of peace and sovereignty in the Indo-Pacific region. In light of the same, geopolitical challenges that are reshaping the Indo-Pacific region were discussed at length. The Foreign Ministers’ dialogue laid emphasis on accelerating deeper economic ties through Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA). This edition of CUTS ONW collates News and Op-eds from policy experts and senior journalists on the Dialogue.

United Nations will become 'irrelevant' without reforms: Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms are like a "hard nut", but hard nuts can be cracked. India has been at the forefront of efforts at the United Nation to push for urgent long-pending reform of the Security Council, emphasising that it rightly deserves a place at the United Nation high table as a permanent member.

Great merit in expanding India-US partnership framework towards a knowledge based economy
Vivek Lall, Chief Executive of the General Atomics Global Corporation, told students at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts that there is great merit in expanding the partnership between India and the US towards a knowledge-based economy asserting that a successful collaboration would result in a number of joint efforts in matters of mutual interest. With India and US demographics, industrial might, and technological entrepreneurism, the two nations form a natural partnership.
India’s most consequential relationship with America
Former Envoy to Washington Arun Kumar Singh said that the US is India’s most substantive relationship. He also weighed in on emerging tensions over US’s support for Pakistan’s F-16 programme. He said America cannot supply high calibre weapons to Pakistan while expecting New Delhi to play a role as a security provider in the region.