Prime Minister Theresa May returned from India earlier this week after a two-day meeting with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to further reinforce the India–UK Strategic Partnership. The statement highlighted renewables, nuclear and smart cities as key points of discussion.

A joint statement from the two PMs said: “We are taking a shared stake in each other’s prosperity, generating jobs, developing skills, and enhancing the competitiveness of our two economies and opening up new markets for both of us.

“UK finance and expertise from its world-leading services sectors will help deliver key Indian priorities like infrastructure development, future smart cities, sustainable energy, research and skills.”

Talking points

The collaboration on secure, affordable and sustainable energy will result in an “enhanced” energy for growth partnership and the first India-UK energy summit, which will be held in early 2017.

May signalled the UK’s intention to join the International Solar Alliance, which harnesses solar energy to meet energy demands and tackle climate change. Plans were discussed to call upon other member countries to signal support for the Alliance at the COP 22 conference in Marrakesh on 15 November.

The PMs also welcomed the fourth phase of the UK-India Civil Research Programme which will look towards developing technologies to enhance nuclear safety, advanced materials for nuclear systems, waste management and future civil nuclear energy systems.

Additionally, May and Modi settled to build upon previous city partnerships. The pair agreed to a more strategic and ambitious urban partnership to “bring together governments, business, investors and urban experts” to continue developing smart cities, driving shared prosperity, jobs and national growth.

Indian summer

The statement comes off the back of both PMs making significant commitments to bold climate pledges through the Paris Agreement, with India being the 62nd country to ratify the agreement and the UK expecting to ratify by the end of the year. Both countries pledged to work together towards fully implementing the deal.

The partnership builds upon a strong India-UK bilateral climate partnership. Last November, previous PM David Cameron and Narendra Modi met in London to agree on a new climate deal between the two countries that established a £10m joint research collaboration into new low-carbon technologies.

India’s climate and renewable energy commitments were overhauled last year with ambitious new targets. Modi’s Government is expected to more than double its domestic coal production – phasing out reliance on imports – and aiming to install 175GW of renewable energy by 2022.

Alex Baldwin

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