Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, thinks India’s stance on climate change has taken a positive turn. Interviewed in Delhi, where he had spoken at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, Rudd said, “What is very encouraging … is the language which we saw emerge from Prime Minister Modi, during President Obama’s visit, about India wanting to see a global agreement in Paris.”
Rudd, who signed the Kyoto Protocol early in his term as Prime Minister of Australia, said “it’s good to see that things have changed” since the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen during late 2009.
Rudd’s comments came last week during a conversation with Shekhar Gupta, former editor-in-chief of the Indian Express, for NDTV’s “Walk the Talk” program. Here are other takeaways from the interview.
The border dispute between India and China: “I think my friends in both Delhi and China would welcome an opportunity to settle it,” Rudd said. “If it’s possible to reach a landing point on the border dispute, which has plagued this relationship for far too long … I think these two individuals have it within their political personalities to possibly find a way through.” China’s boundaries with India and Nepal are the only two, out of China’s 14 land borders, that remain unresolved.
President Xi Jinping of China: Rudd described Xi as “one of the most powerful leaders since Deng and possibly since Mao” and “very hands-on.” He told of how Xi pressed the Chinese government to conclude its free-trade agreement with Australia. Ahead of the G20 meeting in Australia in 2014, which Xi had set as China’s deadline for reaching an agreement, Rudd said, “We found [Xi’s] hands were on the negotiation in order to land a decent compromise.”
The India-Australia relationship: Rudd noted that in 1961, then-Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru invited Australia and New Zealand to participate in the first meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement as observers. “I think he saw us as a little different. Notwithstanding our European pedigree, we were not ourselves colonizers,” said Rudd. Today, Rudd said, “the whole India-Australia relationship is opening up.” The two countries continue to negotiate a free-trade agreement against the backdrop of their 2009 joint statement on developing a strategic partnership.