Ramesh went on to tell Clinton: "And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours."

Clinton was in New Delhi for day two of a three-day trip to India, her first visit as Washington's top diplomat, for talks on climate change, security issues and nuclear power.

'Fruitful discussion'

Following her meeting with Ramesh, Clinton spoke at an award-winning "green" building outside the capital.

"We had a very fruitful discussion today," she said. "We are not sitting down and writing the framework, but we have many more areas of agreement than perhaps had been appreciated.

"There are some specific recommendations which he has made today which are very promising. I am very heartened by our capacity to work [together]."

Climate change and the divisive issue of how developed and developing nations should share the burden of carbon emission cuts has been high on Clinton's agenda during her trip.

The US wants India to agree to limit its carbon emissions ahead of the signing of a new UN climate treaty in Copenhagen in December, when more than 190 nations will try to set targets for emission cuts leading up to 2020.

Emissions targets

India has refused to accept legally-binding targets for cutting carbon in the new treaty until developed nations, particularly the US, present sufficient targets of their own.

"India's position is that we are simply not in a position to take on legally-binding emissions reductions targets," Ramesh said.

Meanwhile, Clinton said that Barack Obama, the US president, has begun taking action on climate change.

George Bush, his predecessor, had played down the problem of climate change.

Clinton continues her trip on Monday when she is expected to hold talks with Manmohan Singh, India's prime minister, and SM Krishna, the country's foreign minister.