India joined the Paris climate change agreement on Sunday by depositing its instrument of ratification to the United Nations in New York. President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to the deal on Saturday. The move was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 25, who said the government had chosen the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi for the occasion. The Union cabinet had approved the decision on September 28.
Union Environment Minister AM Dave said the government had considered the deal’s implications for Indian law before approving the ratification, Hindustan Times reported. “We also wanted to see whether our interests are taken care of when we go forward to implement the Paris deal in the future,” Dave said. He also denied that the ratification was linked with India’s application for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, though government officials have made comments to the effect in the past.
The international accord, which seeks a commitment from countries to stop global temperatures from increasing beyond 2°C, was finalised in December. At least 55 countries that account for 55% of the world’s harmful emissions need to ratify the agreement before it comes into effect. China and the United States have both done so. China is responsible for more than 20% of global emissions, followed by the US (17.9%). Russia accounts for 7.5% of emissions and India for 4.1%.