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Jairam Ramesh: India Won’t Succumb To Western Pressure

India today said it would not succumb to international pressure on any legally-binding commitments to reduce carbon emission and re-position itself diplomatically as a constructive problem-solver.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said India should negotiate from its position of strength and take a leadership role on the issue instead of being “lectured” by the West as it is “moving along a low carbon growth path”.

He said when India goes for climate negotiations, it has three-fold objective in mind which include “to re-position India diplomatically as a constructive problem solver.”

The other two objectives are to ensure maintaining the autonomy of the economic growth trajectory and enhance India’s environmental agenda, he said addressing a CII conclave here.

“I can assure you we are not taking on any legally- binding commitment under international duress. We should take on commitments only because it is in our interest,” he said.

At the same time, he said, “What may reflect internationally will be dependent on what other countries are prepared to give as far as their commitments are concerned”.

He said that in line with its own strategic interest, India has to take the developing world on board on the issue and at the same time engage developed world.

“We are the bridge player in many of these cases. So, it is a fine balancing act”, he said.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines, he regretted that the funds pledged to the Fast Start Finance Fund to the tune of USD 25 billion to combat carbon emission have only remained on paper.

The fund was meant for Africa and other least developed countries and the small island nations with countries like India voluntarily giving up their claim to it, he said, adding the long-term green fund of UDS 100 billion has also proved to be a non-starter.

“We are back to square one. I don’t know where the climate talks are headed right now,” he said.

To the corporate sector, he suggested the need to take on the environmental issue “far more seriously” than it has in the past as it is related to public health and climate change.

The issue has to be embedded into the thinking process and “intrinsic” to business and growth process, he said.

Deccan Herald, 9 April 2011