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UN Climate Talks: India Mulls Shift In Stand

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Vishwa Mohan, Times of India

NEW DELHI: Climate negotiations in the run-up to the global deal in Paris next year may not to be on predictable lines. After trade, the Narendra Modi government is now contemplating a strategic shift during talks, delinking India’s position from China.

Unlike the past where both India and China remained on the same page while batting for developing countries, a clear view is emerging in the government that its strategic interests should be pursued while taking pro-active role in negotiations.

The shift may get reflected as early as during the G20 meeting in Brisbane next week. It is learnt that it was India that insisted on including the climate issue in the agenda of the meeting despite strong resistance from China.

Although India will continue to insist that the global climate deal should have the principles of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and Kyoto Protocol that call for only rich nations to cut emissions while demanding money for poor countries to take voluntary action, it may now start questioning the idea of keeping the world’s highest carbon emitter China in the same league as the other developing countries.

Climate negotiation strategists within the government here feel that the move may help some manufacturing activity to shift to India from China. Although China argues that its emission is mainly due to production activities for exports, the argument is seen as an excuse for its inaction.

The idea to question China on this issue emerged while drafting a strategic paper for the forthcoming Lima climate conference next month where India will insist on ‘adaptation’ than on ‘mitigation’ (emission cut) in any future climate deal.

“Though India will adhere to the joint stand taken by the BASIC group of countries including China, Brazil and South Africa on broader issues, New Delhi may now differ on specific issues which may be affecting its own economic interest,” said an official involved with the discussions to strategize India’s move for the next one year in the run-up to the Paris deal.

He said, “It is time for India to take a lead role while keeping its national interest in mind. The focus will be on adaptation and seeking support for poor nations in terms of extending them finance and technology so that they can adapt themselves to face the challenges of climate change.”

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