Understanding Sino-Indian climate diplomacy

Document Type


Publication Title

Understanding Sino-Indian climate diplomacy


Climate diplomacy is a cornerstone of foreign policies and geopolitical strategies of both China and India. Since the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, the two countries have stepped up the climate game by announcing voluntary targets (before the Paris Agreement) and advancing renewable energy goals; and in China’s case, by declaring a peaking year and net zero target. Both these countries have been cooperating in multilateral climate-related platforms – including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – through groups such as BASIC to promote equity and climate justice. At the same time, they have developed divergent positions on various issues over the years, which are driven by among other factors, geopolitical ones (including border conflict). In this context, the talk will analyze the emergence of, and roles played by China and India in the international climate order, by focussing on the convergences and divergences in their positions and approaches towards climate diplomacy and notions of global climate governance, particularly since 2009. Besides reflecting upon the national policies that are tied to their Paris goals, the presentation will also look into bilateral diplomacy in the climate change domain between the two countries. It will delve into the strategies adopted by them to coordinate climate diplomacy with other major powers such as the US and EU, as well as the developing world. Lastly, the talk will explore the future of India-China climate diplomacy and the challenges that are likely to hinder bilateral cooperation.

Publication Date

Summer 11-29-2021