India says it will be 'deal-maker' at Copenhagen talks

Jairam Ramesh

"I can assure you that India would not be a deal-breaker. It will be a deal-maker at Copenhagen," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said last evening at a reception called 'Lighting a Billion Lives' organised by 'The Energy and Resources Institute' (TERI).

"India for its part will be out there (at Copenhagen), working with the United States, working with China, the European Union to ensure that we have a fair and equitable agreement," Ramesh said.

Among those present at the event included Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy; former US Vice President Al Gore; John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Congressman Steven Israel.

Ramesh said he had a very useful and constructive discussion with Todd Stern, US Special Envoy on Climate Change. He also met Congressmen Edward Markey and Jim McDermott and told them that India is proactive and constructive.

"We are continuing the process of dialogue, which started a couple of weeks ago. I can assure you that the areas of convergence between the United States and India are far greater than the areas of divergence that seem to hit the media headlines," Ramesh said.

He said when he took charge of the ministry on May 29, "the Prime Minister's only words to me were that remember we did not cause the problem of global warming, but make sure that you are part of the solution. Make sure we are there negotiating from a position of leadership, because we are the most vulnerable to global warming."
"We are prepared to show it to the world that we are responsible environmental citizens," the minister said.

Green technology is an area in which Indian business, instead of being passive recipient of technology from the world can emerge as active supplier of technology to the rest of the world, he said.

India will engage the US on the issue, Ramesh said, adding that climate change and technology would be a very important element of the state visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington on November 24.

"By then, we would have greater clarity on what India would be able to reassure the world community by way of its domestic obligations being reflected as part of an international move at Copenhagen," he said.

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