By Laura Barron-Lopez - 09/30/14 04:49 PM EDT
President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to new partnerships to help improve climate change adaptation and planning on Tuesday.
The new program, detailed in a joint statement by the U.S. and India, will help build up the two nations' climate resilience by working on adaptation to extreme weather like drought and severe storms.
"Recognizing the critical importance of increasing energy access, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving resilience in the face of climate change, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to a new and enhanced strategic partnership on energy security, clean energy, and climate change," the two countries said in the joint statement.
The leaders also agreed to form a new U.S.-India Climate Fellowship Program, which will help build long-term infrastructure and capacity to mitigate and respond to climate change.
The new programs will help India build up its renewable energy capacity within its electric grid, and pursue alternative energy sources.
While the new commitments are not major, considering the role the two countries are expected to play heading to 2015 talks in Paris, they show India's willingness to work with the U.S. on climate action.
Leading up to his White House visit, Modi's environment minister said India was not making any plans to cut emissions and would need to continue to boost its fossil fuel use to provide affordable electricity to its citizens.
As the clock winds down on the final 15 months before the United Nations climate talks in Paris, action by U.S. and India will be important in luring other nations to the table.
The administration is hoping to pressure developing countries to join in a "politically binding" agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"Both leaders are committed to working towards a successful outcome in Paris in 2015 of the conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the creation of a new global agreement on climate change," the two nations said in the joint statement.