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New Delhi: India’s power and new and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh on Monday urged the US to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), co-founded by India and France.

This comes in the backdrop of Singh’s meeting with a delegation led by John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) in New Delhi today

ISA has become a significant public policy tool for India and is considered a counter to China’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative. India’s strategy is to negate the growing influence of strategic rival China in the region.

“He (Singh) urged the US side to join the International Solar Alliance which can benefit many countries," union power ministry said in a statement on Monday.

This comes at a time when there hasn’t been much traction on the Green Climate Fund set up to provide developing nations $100 billion annually by 2020 to counter climate change.

“Both sides agree to collaborate to find solutions for making energy transition economically viable," the statement added.

ISA co-founded by India during the 2015 climate change conference in Paris has assumed centre-stage for India’ attempts at a global climate leadership role. The development assumes significance, given that green finance is among the priority themes at COP-26, with the conference being held in the backdrop of US re-entering the Paris climate accord.

“The purpose of the meeting was to discuss further collaboration on climate change issues and to work towards a genuine partnership between the two countries to pave the way for the rest of the world on Energy Transition," the statement said.

According to the union government, India is the only major economy with actions in line to keep global warming below 2°C of pre-industrial levels and the only G20 country whose energy transition is consonant with this goal. This visit comes in the backdrop of India resisting the pressure of declaring a net zero emission goal. Instead, India has called out nations on their carbon neutral intent announcements and termed its as ‘meaningless’.

“SPEC proposed that USA is willing to enter into a genuine collaboration with India to enable us realise the ambitious target of reaching 450 GW Renewable Energy by 2030 which would pave the way to India achieving sub 2°C level, much more than what has been committed under Paris Climate Agreement," the statement said.

This comes at a time when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that extreme weather events will impact lives, livelihoods and businesses in India and South Asia.

“The US side appreciated India for its Energy Access drive and commitment to achieve 450 GW of RE by 2030. They also lauded India for electrifying 28.02 million homes in 18 months and achieved universal household electrification," the statement added.

India and United States have added a fifth track on ‘emerging fuels’ as part of the US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP).

“Both sides agreed that Indian labs could work with the US labs with the objective of reducing costs and finding alternative chemistry for making energy transition economically viable. SPEC highlighted that India and USA could take a Global Leadership role on the Energy Transition front and show the rest of the world that ambitious RE targets can be achieved," the statement said.

This comes in the backdrop of India’s push for new age emission-free fuels such as green hydrogen in fertilizer production and petroleum refining. As part of its energy security strategy, India also plans to shortly kick-start its green hydrogen pathway by calling bids for 4 gigawatt (GW) electrolyser capacity.

“The US side informed that both India and USA have similar goals and share the same zeal towards climate change issues and this partnership would be an inspiration to the rest of the world of revise their Nationally Determined Goals (NDCs) and strengthen the fight towards climate change," the statement said.

In what may strengthen India’s climate commitment credentials in the run-up to COP-26 in Glasgow, its emissions have been reduced by 28% over 2005 levels, against the target of 35% by 2030.

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