Coordinating joint positions in most multilateral negotiations is often tricky. In spite of common interests, divergence, and not convergence, is the norm.

A glacier meeting the ocean in Antarctica (Bloomberg)

So it is a matter of some satisfaction that India has been able to arrive at a shared vision with Brazil and South Africa (the so-called IBSA group) on the subject. A joint declaration earlier in the month at Pretoria reaffirmed this. Equity and differentiated responsibility of countries was a key element in the statement. Now, India wants to include China as a partner in this venture.

If China does come along, it would certainly make for a formidable bloc. But there’s danger here. Cutting side deals whereby some countries keep on chanting the mantra of equity while one big one gets a cozy deal—with bargains made elsewhere—is very real. India should be alert to that possibility.

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