Manmohan leaves Saturday for key summits in Mexico, Brazil (Lead)

June 15th, 2012 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) With the political uncertainties of the last days having almost blown over and the party solidly behind him as prime minister, Manmohan Singh leaves for Mexico and Brazil Saturday morning for two important summits where he would join global leaders in addressing the twin challenges of economic meltdown and environmental degradation.

The visit to the G-20 and the Rio+20 summits come at a time when the political climate within India had hotted up ahead of the presidential election, even as the government itself came under renewed attack for perceived policy inaction, slowing economic growth and creeping inflation.

“Absolutely not,” was the response of Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, when asked if the domestic developments will have a bearing on the meetings the prime minister attends overseas.

“This is a political democracy. Congress is a party which is more than a century old and prime minister has been the prime minister of the country well to his second term. We honour and go forward to our international commitments. We have a robust chairperson of the UPA. There is no tension,” said Natarjan.

The party declared Thursday that Manmohan Singh will continue as prime minister till the next general election in 2014 and rejected suggestions from some allies that he be made president of the country, a largely ceremonial job.

The first leg of the prime minister’s visit takes him to the resort town of Los Cabos in Mexico for the G-20 summit on addressing the current global financial turmoil.

There he is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, German Chancellor Angela Merket, Russian President Vladimir Putin and new French President Francois Hollande.

He will accompanied by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Adviser T.K.A. Nair, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Pulok Chatterjee, who is principal secretary to the prime minister, and Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai.

During the second leg June 21-22, the prime minister will attend the Rio+20 conference, celebrating 20 years of first Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. The 1992 summit for the first time laid the concept of sustainable growth for development.

During the Rio conference, Singh is scheduled to meet Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Brazil President Luis InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, an old friend who was suffering from cancer.

Speaking about India’s stand at Rio conference, Natarajan said: “The Rio outcome will have to be voluntary, non-binding and aspirational … no insistence. There should be no compromise on equity and common but differentiated responsibility and these two principles should be the core of any outcome.”

Equity ensures the right of developing nations to grow and common but differentiated responsibilities talks about the all countries taking down emission cuts based on their historic responsibilities.

According to the environment minister, greening of economy has to be directed towards achieving the overriding objectives of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

“The talks are about coming out with sustainable development goals (SDGs) on the lines of millennium development goals (MDGs). SDGs should not be binding upon developing countries and should be voluntary and aspirational and supported by means of implementation,” she said.

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