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India To Oppose West’s Climate Agenda

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Puja Mehra, The Hindu

India objects to the environment and social safeguards standards being pushed by the World Bank, demands that developed countries make available $100 billion of climate finance every year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here from London on Saturday evening to attend the two-day G-20 Summit, after completing his three-day U.K. visit, is scheduled to be the lead speaker at its inaugural session on Climate Change and Development.

Speaking for developing countries, in his address to the G-20 Leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, among others, Mr. Modi will oppose the proposed move for eliminating fossil fuels subsidies.

He will also voice strong objections to the environment and social safeguards standards being pushed by the World Bank and other multilateral agencies for project finance and loans. He will call for a balance at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 December talks in Paris so that development is not compromised as a result of the focus on climate change.

India’s stated position is that the emphasis should rather be on clean technology, Economic Affairs Secretary and head of India’s finance track delegation here at the G-20 Summit Shaktikanta Das told presspersons. “India calls for balance between focus on climate change and development needs.” The Prime Minister will invite all countries to join an international network on non-conventional energy, he said.

Mr. Modi is also expected to emphasise that the commitment from the developed countries to make available from 2020 $100 billion of climate finance every year to developing countries has to be ensured and a road map for this should be laid down over the next five years.

Even at the World Bank Annual Meeting earlier this year in Lima, Peru, India had said it did not support the categorisation of the official development assistance from multilateral agencies as part of the $100 billion as proposed by the developing countries.

In the sessions on employment and investment strategies for inclusive growth, India will raise a demand for greater flexibility for the policies governing the mobility of labour from development countries to developed ones. This will include visa issues and work permits.

Ahead of the start of the summit, the Prime Minister will hold talks with the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa — leaders on Sunday morning.

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