India, China sign climate change pact

October 21, 2009

, NEW DELHI, Oct 21 – India and China put aside a diplomatic spat to sign a five-year agreement Wednesday to cooperate on climate change leading up to crucial talks in Copenhagen.

The pact establishes a working group to exchange information on climate change ahead of a high-stakes summit in the Danish capital from December 7-18 where nations will attempt to clinch a treaty to reduce carbon emissions.

"We regard India as a sincere, devoted friend and the MoU (memorandum of understanding) on climate change will take our cooperation on the issue to a new high," Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman and minister of China\’s National Development and Reforms Commission said at the signing in New Delhi.

India and China are among the world\’s biggest polluters and both have so far taken a united stand on rejecting binding emissions cuts, arguing that carbon caps will hinder them in their quest to alleviate poverty.

"There is no difference between Indian and Chinese position (on climate change)," said Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, adding that their stance "fully protects and promotes the interests of developing nations".

The two nations traded jabs over a recent visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian border state at the core of a long-standing territorial dispute between the neighbours.

On Tuesday, China said it was "firmly opposed" to a planned visit by Ticapitalfmnewn spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to the state, while India has recently complained about Chinese involvement in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

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