There are so many challenges the new government has to tackle headlong that it may not have the mental space to grapple with longer-term issues. That would be unfortunate.
One such issue is climate change. The economic crisis and the threats from global terrorism could put the problem of a warming world on the back burner. The world needs a new climate change treaty and a lot of the preparatory work will have to be done in the months leading up to a proposed summit in Copenhagen in December.
India needs to reiterate that poor nations are not in a position to forsake economic growth in the quest to cut back on fossil fuels. Our per capita carbon emissions, too, are far lower than those in the West.
The second big issue: India needs to be in the forefront of the debate on whether a carbon tax is a better way to protect the environment or whether it should be a cap-and-trade system.
India needs to make itself heard on these key issues.