India has been on the brink of adverse impacts of climate change given its huge population, inequality and poverty. As the country is growing, massive energy intensive infrastructure is being put in place and will continue to be put up in the coming future. With the unabated growth and spiraling emissions, the country is at a precarious position to be one of the largest polluters in the world. While, India is developing a strategy for low carbon growth with its ambitious renewable energy targets, a lot remains to be done.
The world has just over a decade to prevent the climate from unravelling in catastrophic ways. While the primary onus for avoiding this looming calamity lies with the rich industrialised nations, India, which is now the world’s third biggest emitter, is committed to the Paris Agreement. However, whether it can muster the political will and the financial muscle to shift to a low-carbon economy while raising the living standard of its billion plus citizens is a trillion dollar question the answer to which will become clear only after 2030 when it begins to decouple its economic growth from its emissions.
Even as dirty air continues to mar and prematurely snuff out millions of lives in the country, the unsettling truth is that no one, neither political parties nor the voting masses, considers it grave enough to be aired loudly in the ongoing general elections. Oddly, however, it does find first-ever mention in the manifestos of the two principal political parties. But whether this would actually lead to cleaner air is anybody’s guess.
With its vast religious, ethnic and linguistic diversity, India provides a remarkable example of a vibrant democracy with a complex political landscape. Since independence, India has been successful at sustaining democracy, albeit disrupted at times by communal unrest and separatist and militant movements at its peripheries. In recent years, new forms of political activism by urban middle classes and youth have emerged, focusing on issues such as good governance, gender equity and freedom of expression. India’s democratic space continues to be renegotiated all along.
For over two decades now, green politics in India has largely been about resisting neoliberalism and replacing it with an alternative development ethos. During this period, the greens jousted with governments that, while being committed to a liberal economic order, were also politically secular and liberal. But now, with a majoritarian Hindu state, which is even more fanatically neoliberal, firmly in the saddle, green politics is in a state of limbo. New rules of engagement are a must. Whether they are possible is moot.
70 years ago, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We work with our partners around the world towards making democracy and human rights, dignity and freedom a reality for all. The triad of HUman Rights - Democracy- Ecological Sustainability is the basis for our work.
Acknowledged by many as a rising power, India’s international priorities and actions seek a greater role for itself globally and regionally. Foreign policy is being given a lot of attention as is being constantly shaped and confronted with challenges and opportunities of a multi-polar global order. Centre stage are trade, economic, defense and strategic partnerships as is India’s emerging and undisputed role in global and regional governance forums like the G-20, BRICS, ASEAN, BIMSTEC. Undeniably, India is a weighty player in multi-lateral negotiations of trade and climate talks and at global institutions such as the IAEA, seeking to change the rules at the IMF and a permanent seat for itself at the UN Security Council. Furthermore, India’s new status as a donor and a stakeholder in the emerging international financial architecture such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank is giving it strategic and political mileage.
The on-going meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Conference of Myanmar is expected to bring together all ethnic nationalities and government negotiators to build a democratic federal union. A keynote addressed by former Indian Ambassador to Myanmar, Gautam Mukhopadhya at a conference on "Federalism and India-Myanmar Relations" in Mizoram.