Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said India will fulfil all its responsibilities with regard to climate change as he met US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the climate summit here.
Modi, in his meeting with Obama, also appreciated the openness with which the US President addresses issues with him and said it will help in developing a better understanding. "India will fulfil expectations from it and its responsibilities...the country is working to take forward development and (protecting) environment together," Modi said at a joint press event with Obama.
The Prime Minister also mentioned India's ambitious target of producing 175 GW of renewable energy. Prime Minister's comments came in the backdrop of India's strong resentment to US Secretary of State John Kerry's statement that India would be a "challenge" at the climate conference. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar described the comments as "unwarranted".
Javadekar and Kerry accompanied Modi and Obama respectively along with other senior ministers and officials. Modi also talked about solar alliance initiative saying it will help in fulfiling the dreams which have brought the countries together here. Ahead of his talks with Obama, Modi had said that there was an urgent need to craft a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement to limit global warming.
President Obama said India must curb its carbon dioxide pollution even while it works to eradicate poverty, prioritise growth and promote economic development. He also said climate change was one of the major areas for deeper cooperation between the US and India.
President Obama emphasised that it was a pleasure to meet with his "friend and partner". "We agree that (climate change) is an urgent threat. We welcome India's leadership on this issue," Obama said. While he said the Paris meeting should protect the possibility of countries like India to pursue their fight against poverty, the US President also clearly stated that serious climate commitments from all parties were absolutely necessary.
The agreement "has to reflect serious and ambitious actions by all countries", he insisted. Modi said after his meeting with Obama, "India is the first country in the world, protecting the earth and protecting the environment, Mahatma Gandhi was its champion.
So for India it's a very important thing. We have kept very big targets," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, "An opportunity for engagement. The leaders of the 2 largest democracies exchange views on sidelines of #COP21", along with a picture of the bilateral meeting.
Both Modi and Obama met as part of "Mission Innovation" which was announced by the US earlier. It is an initiative to dramatically accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation to address global climate change, provide affordable clean energy to consumers, including in the developing world, and create additional commercial opportunities in clean energy.
Modi, who is here on a two-day visit, also attended a special lunch hosted by French President Francois Hollande. He also held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"Whether Kuala Lumpur or Paris, Tokyo or New York always time for good friend PM @AbeShinzo," Swarup tweeted after the Modi-Abe meeting. Modi also met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and a host of other world leaders.
Later, speaking at the Mission Innovation event hosted by Obama, Modi said, "our innovation initiative should be driven by public purpose, not just market incentives, including on intellectual property." "We must come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all. The world has assembled in Paris to change the course of our planet to a sustainable path," Modi said.
"This partnership will combine the responsibility of government with the innovative capacity of the private sector," he said. Modi began his address by saluting French President Francois Hollande and the French people for their courage and resolve in the aftermath of the horrific Paris attacks. "We will restore the balance between ecology and economy, and between our inheritance and obligation to the future," Modi asserted