U.S. Presidential Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry will visit India on April 6, the second top official in the Biden administration to visit India in the past month. The month of March saw the visit of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The visit of senior US officials comes as New Delhi and Washington step up their engagement on multiple fronts, from covid cooperation to climate change.
During the visit, John Kerry will meet with Indian environment Prakash Javadekar and is expected to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The climate has been a key priority area for the new US administration. On the first day of his tenure, President Biden announced the United States’ accession to the Paris Climate Pact, from which former US President Trump had withdrawn.
The visit comes even as US President Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to a leaders’ climate summit he will host on April 22 and 23. The summit will be the virtual summit, and the invitation has also been extended to neighbors of India such as Lotay Tshering from Bhutan, Sheikh Hasina from Bangladesh.
According to the White House, the goal of the summit is to “galvanize the efforts of the world’s major economies to reduce emissions during this critical decade in order to keep within reach a warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius.” The Summit will once again bring together the US-led Forum of Major Energy and Climate Economies, which brings together 17 countries responsible for around 80% of global emissions and global GDP.
India has its own ambitious international solar alliance which aims to harness solar energy to combat climate change. As of January 15, 2021, 89 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement. India is expected to speak up during Kerry’s visit to India and at the next US-led climate meeting.