Editorial 1 : Recognising the impact of climate change on health


  • As India gets ready for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28), it is important to examine how climate change affects the country’s health.

Climate change and health systems in India:

  • India’s inadequate health systems make our population particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate risks on health. Climate change affects health directly, causing more sickness and death. In more indirect ways, it affects nutrition, reduces working hours, and increases climate induced stress.
  • All nations during the Paris Agreement agreed to cap the rise in temperature at 1.5°C. Clearly, we have failed. The year 2023 saw the highest temperatures and heat waves in recorded history.
  • Climate emergencies — extreme heat, cyclones, floods — are expected to occur with increasing regularity. These will interfere with food security and livelihoods and sharpen health challenges.
As per the latest report of UNFCCC (2023), the world is already on the path to cross the Paris climate deal threshold soon. One estimate suggests that if global temperature were to rise by 2°C, many parts of India would become uninhabitable.

Double burden

  • The double burden of morbidity that India faces from communicable and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) will be worsened by climate change. Heat also alters the virulence of pathogens.
  • It could facilitate the growth of vectors such as mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks, and as yet unknown ones, and change the seasonality of infection through changes in their life cycle. It could also facilitate the introduction of vectors and pathogens into areas where they did not exist before, such as mosquitoes in the Himalayan States.
  • Reduced availability of food and water and the decrease in nutritional value of food increases vulnerability to diseases. Epidemics commonly occur after floods, but extended warm periods also promote the proliferation of water and foodborne pathogens and diseases.
  • Less well recognised is the impact of climate change on NCDs and mental health, both of which are poorly managed in India. Heat, physical exertion, and dehydration, a constant state for labourers, could lead to kidney injuries, which are rising in India due to uncontrolled diabetes. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases are exacerbated by increased and extended episodes of air pollution.
  • Depression, aggravated by stress generated by the change in weather conditions, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) invariably accompany a climate emergency.

Climate change and urban India:

  • India is urbanising at a rapid pace, in an unplanned manner. Urban areas, not tempered by urban greenery and open spaces and filled with asphalt roads and heat retaining buildings that physically block air circulation, bear the worst ill effects of climate change due to the urban heat island effect. (Urban areas are warmer than surrounding rural areas, especially at night).
  • Climate change puts further pressure on the weak urban primary health system, already suffering the ill effects of air pollution; urban planning that discourages physical activity; and work related and cultural stress.

Way forward: Mitigation efforts

  • It begins with understanding the direct and indirect pathways by which climate change impacts health and assessing the burden. Currently, the health information systems are not modified to gather this data.
  • Since the impact is accentuated by socioeconomic conditions, having systems in place for social support and health services will reduce the impact.
  • We need to take interventions that focus on better urban planning, green cover, water conservation, and public health interventions will be much larger — not only for health but for many determinants of health.
  • Action to control climate change needs to happen at global, regional, and local levels. Pathways of climate change and their impact will determine the appropriate area of intervention. To achieve this, India has to recognise climate change and its impact on health as a problem that can be and needs to be addressed.


  • National, State, and local governments have to decide to act on the policy options that have been generated by research. Only when the three streams of problematisation, policy options, and political decision making come together is meaningful change likely to happen.

Editorial 2 : India, Japan converge in Southeast Asia


  • Upon dropping a series of Chinese-led infrastructure projects due to sustainability and geopolitical concerns, the Philippines is now redirecting its attention to Japan and India as alternative sources of development and security.

India and Philippines strategic ties:

  • Manila now shows the desire to deepen and broaden its security and economic partnerships with like minded partners amidst Beijing’s growing unwillingness to act and behave like a responsible neighbour.
  • Under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Philippines has been steadfast in securing its sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea against China’s revisionist interests in the Indo-Pacific (IP) Region.
  • Accordingly, Manila’s attribution of both Tokyo and New Delhi as important partners allows all three democracies to explore new opportunities for multifaceted strategic cooperation.
  • Bilateral partnership between the Philippines and India has witnessed noteworthy advancements as Manila is now more willingly incorporating New Delhi in its strategic calculations.
  • The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Philippine and Indian Coast Guards will allow both sides to improve their interoperability, intelligence sharing, and maritime domain awareness. India has also offered to supply the Philippine Coast Guard with seven indigenously manufactured helicopters based on a soft loan agreement with extended payment terms. This comes at the heels of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile delivery to the Southeast Asian country later this year.
  • Thus, Japan and India’s bolstered engagements in Southeast Asia complement the interest of resident countries like the Philippines to lessen their susceptibility to China’s expanding economic clout and deepening power projection capabilities.
  • Forging robust ties with friendly regional powers is crucial to Southeast Asian countries’ hedging strategies, especially as the U.S.-China competition continues to intensify.
As per the State of Southeast Asian Survey of 2023, Japan and India are the top two choices of Southeast Asian countries for alternative Indo-Pacific strategic partners. Therefore, the contemporary structural conditions serve as an opportunity for Japan and India to operationalise their shared vision for the IndoPacific.

India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership

  • is best defined through the robust ties they share. In terms of security, New Delhi and Tokyo constantly engage in varied platforms ranging from regular bilateral military exercises and 2+2 meetings to multilateral frameworks such as the Quad and the G20.
  • Both countries share similar threat perceptions — an increasingly assertive and disruptive China. Beyond defence cooperation, New Delhi and Tokyo have also embarked on a third country cooperation model in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC): an example of third country cooperation model:

  • In 2017, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his former counterpart Shinzo Abe welcomed collaborative efforts in establishing industrial growth and development networks across Asia and Africa, creating the AAGC.
  • While the project eventually slowed down due to geopolitical turbulence and the economic constraints posed by the COVID19 pandemic, both countries have recently explored new third country cooperation models throughout the region.
  • Among them are the emerging trilateral partnerships between India, Japan, and Bangladesh and a similar framework between India, Japan, and Sri Lanka.


  • As India is significantly deepening and broadening its ties with Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines, New Delhi should consider taking its third country developmental model with Tokyo into the subregion of the greater IndoPacific at a time when resident countries are looking for alternative sources of development and security amidst the polarising dynamics of the U.S.China power competition.