India must protect its interests in climate change talks: PM

June 12th, 2008 - 9:34 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) India must protect its national interests when global solutions to the challenge of climate change are devised, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Wednesday. “The world shares a single environment and therefore if the environment deteriorates (and) if climate change becomes a reality we will also suffer. But it is also important that in devising solutions to these formidable new challenges that are on the horizon, we must protect our essential national interests,” Manmohan Singh told fresh recruits of the Indian Foreign Service.

“For a poor country like ours, development and the eradication of poverty is the supreme concern. So we have to marry the concern of management of global climate with the concern for development, for removal of poverty.”

The prime minister warned that “there is going to be an immense pressure” on India in climate change negotiations.

“Countries like India, countries like China - people are blaming them for global warming, for global food crises. Also blaming us for the rapid growth in demand of hydrocarbons as factor in the global crisis with regards to energy,” he said.

“All these are projections of national interests of various countries and our effort has to be that while we recognise the world is an increasingly interdependent entity, the management of this interdependence must be equitable; it must operate in a manner which will protect our national interest.”

Manmohan Singh explained what that interest was. “India needs a long period of peaceful development to sustain the tempo of social and economic development so that over a period of time, in our lifetime, we can get rid of chronic poverty, ignorance and disease, which has been the lot of a majority of our people for centuries.

“Our effort has to be that India’s national interest must be protected to the fullest possible extent. And that is where the foreign service comes in and therefore your awareness for national concerns and how best we can achieve our objectives in an increasingly interdependent world is the biggest single challenge facing our foreign policy establishment,” he told the recruits.

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