India and the north-south politics of global environmental issues : the case of ozone depletion, climate change and loss of biodiversity
The cooperation of developing countries is commonly assumed to be essential for the establishment of effective regimes to manage global environmental interdependence. Yet their policies and perceptions have been inadequately studied. This thesis seeks to partially fill this gap in the literature with a detailed analysis of Indian policy on global environmental issues. It examines the cases of ozone depletion, climate change, and loss of biodiversity, and discusses developments up to the 1992 Earth Summit. The study addresses four broad questions about Indian policy: the process of policy making; the character of Indian interests and preferences; the nature and evolution of India's bargaining strategy; and the outcome of international negotiations for India. It reveals a complex picture of continuity and change in Indian policy. It demonstrates the enduring importance of traditions and values such as the "poverty is the greatest polluter" orthodoxy and the concepts of sovereignty, equity and Third World solidarity. It also highlights the impact of perceptions of vulnerability in relation to the North. It argues that Indian policy did not reflect purely powermaximising goals; policy makers were sometimes uncertain about where India's interests precisely lay, and felt constrained both by economic weakness and by the recognition of the mutual interest of all states in global environmental protection. This was reflected in the moderation in India's bargaining strategy. The Indian case suggests that developing countries did not regard their cooperation in the resolution of global environmental issues purely as a bargaining chip with which to extract concessions from the North. Still less did they perceive these issues as providing an opportunity to pose a macro-challenge to the North, linking agendas across issue areas. Instead, their goals reflected perceptions of constraints and mutual interests in bargaining with the North. Their bargaining strategy thus tended to be moderate and flexible, unlike the confrontational approach of the 1970s.