WASHINGTON: India and the United States have signed an MoU to enhance mutual cooperation on conserving wildlife and combating its trafficking.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Indian Ambassador to the US, Arun K Singh, and Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department yesterday.
Under the MoU, the two countries agreed to cooperate and strengthen capacity for wildlife conservation and management in India, including efforts to protect critical habitats.
India and the US also committed to cooperate regionally and globally for combating of illegal trade in wildlife through capacity building, strengthening cooperation and sharing best practices.
"Between India and the US, there is a lot to learn from each other on management and conservation best practices, capacity-building, awareness campaign and law enforcement that contribute to improved environmental health in both our countries," Singh said.
"Similarly, there is a desire to cooperate with each other to deny space to poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products," he said, adding that the MoU signed provides an institutional basis for such cooperation.
Noting that the memorandum was being signed on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official visit to the US next week, Singh said the Indian leader is a champion of the cause of environment, clean energy and sustainable development.
"Wildlife conservation is a vital part of our overall agenda. It was during Prime Minister Modi's first visit to the US in September 2014 that leaders of the two countries stressed the importance of conserving the world's precious biodiversity and agreed to explore opportunities for collaboration on national parks and wildlife conservation," he added.