Climate change, business top Kerry visit to India

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center left, is greeted by Aman Puri, with the Indian protocol office, upon arrival in New Delhi, India on Sunday, June 23, 2013, on his first visit to India as secretary. At right is U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

NEW DELHI (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will urge fast-growing India on Sunday to curb emissions that contribute to global warming and ease barriers to U.S. business and investment in the world's largest democracy that is viewed as a counterweight to China.

New Delhi is the second stop on Kerry's two-week visit to seven countries in the Mideast and Asia. During his stay, the top U.S. diplomat also is expected to discuss a myriad of other topics, including enhancing security in the region and prospects for finding a political resolution to the war in Afghanistan.

Kerry has traveled to India before, but his two-day visit is his first to the country as secretary of state. He is to deliver a speech that will focus on climate change along with other bilateral issues.

India has installed about 1,000 megawatts of solar power in the past 2 1/2 years — about one fifth with American financing. Education also will figure prominently in their discussions. India is facing the challenge of educating about 500 million young people during the next decade or so and there is an opportunity for U.S. schools to help meet the demand.

Discussions also will include India's relationship with its archenemy, Pakistan, and the hope that Pakistan's new president, Nawaz Sharif, will try to improve relations, thus reducing the chance of a fourth major war between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Kerry is talking about climate change just two days before President Barack Obama is to unveil his long-awaited national plan on the issue.

People consulting with White House officials on Obama's plan say they expect the president to put forth regulations on heat-trapping gases emitted by coal-fired power plants that are already running. Environmental groups have been pleading with Obama to take that step, but the administration has said it's focused first on controls on new power plants.

More than half of India's power comes from coal and while the U.S. has emission issues of its own, it wants to see India and other nations in the region rely less on old, coal generation facilities. The U.S. is backing a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline that would bring energy to a power-starved region.