I will head India's climate talks at intl fora: Ramesh


"I will be India's chief negotiator for talks related to climate change. There is no big deal in it," Ramesh told reporters here when asked if Saran's replacement was on the cards.
Justifying his move, he said that it is always the minister who represents his ministry at an international forum and hence "it is no big deal if I head my team at the negotiating forums on climate change."

Saran, who was the prime minister's special envoy on climate change, had resigned last month following his differences with Ramesh on India's stand on climate change particularly at Copenhagen last year, which he felt had "weakened the country's position at the global fora."

In a departure from the past trend when retired civil servants were favoured by the government for international talks on climate change, Ramesh made it clear that henceforth only serving officials would represent the country, a move indicating his greater role on the issue.

"A five member inter-ministerial climate change negotiating team is already in place to take forward the country's negotiations. Retired officials have no place in the talks. Yes, they can be in the advisory boards," Ramesh said.
Environment Secretary Vijai Sharma, Additional Secretary J M Mauskar, Joint Secretary R R Rashmi and two others are part of the team.
Former Indian diplomat Chandarshekhar Dasgupta and former environment secretary Pradipto Ghosh, who were part of the Indian team at Copenhagen last year, have been dropped.

Explaining the reason for dropping them, Ramesh said: "Everywhere in the world inter-ministerial team participates in negotiations and not retired personnel. They can be part of the advisory group but not in the negotiating team."
Dasgupta and Ghosh had refused to join the negotiating team at Copenhagen at the last moment expressing their reservation over Ramesh's view on climate change.
After causing much embarrassment to the Minister, the duo had later agreed to join the team.

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