From Rio to Paris: India in global climate politics


This paper analyses India’s participation in more than two decades of global climate politics. India has transitioned from a protest voice on the fringes of global climate policy to one that is actively shaping international efforts to combat climate change. Analysis of the drivers behind India’s negotiating positions on climate change thus far has focused on the competing motives of equity and co-benefits, which has however been insufficient to explain some of India’s recent actions in global climate governance. There is a gap in the literature with regards to the analysis of Indian climate policy as situated in its larger foreign policy agenda and objectives. This paper studies the evolution of India’s climate policy through the perspective of its broader foreign policy strategy, arguing that India’s engagement with international climate politics can be better understood by locating its climate policy as a subset of its foreign policy agenda. Shifts in India’s climate change negotiation stance in the past decade have been but a part of its overall foreign policy adjustments in favour of greater responsibility in management of the global commons. Going forward, tracking Indian foreign policy objectives will yield vital clues towards India’s role in global climate action.

Rising Powers Quarterly
Aniruddh Mohan
Aniruddh Mohan
Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow