Cancun: India has emerged as a new global power on climate change, with major nations voicing praise -- and surprise -- at New Delhi`s agile diplomacy that helped produce a deal in Cancun, Mexico.
Jairam Ramesh, India`s outspoken environment minister, was instrumental in breaking a deadlock over how to verify nations` climate actions and, for the first time, said that his country would consider a binding deal in the future.
Ramesh told reporters in the Caribbean beach resort that India needed to change with the times as it seeks a greater global role and the world inches toward a new comprehensive agreement on fighting climate change.
"India is moving ahead. India is being progressive. It can only attain global leadership by expanding its negotiating space," Ramesh said. "A negotiating position must evolve over time."
Ramesh faced criticism at home, with the political opposition and some environmental activists accusing him of selling out India`s position to please the United States, which has warming relations with New Delhi.
But some climate negotiators and experts saw his comments as a major -- even historic -- shift by India, which since its independence in 1947 has fiercely fought global agreements seen as imposing mandates on the developing world.
"India`s stance in climate negotiations has been much more open and much more active," French Ecology Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said. "This is something that is new and very encouraging."