United Nations: India Tuesday said it is "unfair" to question the commitment of countries on the issue of climate change on the basis of the participation of their leaders at a summit being hosted by the UN Secretary General.
In the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's environment minister Prakash Javadekar will represent the country at the one-day summit which will focus on mobilising political will for a universal and meaningful climate agreement next year in Paris.
The summit to be held here tomorrow will look to generate ambitious steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience.
Answering questions yesterday about Modi's absence from the high-profile event, India's Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji said the climate summit is being organised not as a part of the negotiations on climate change but as an event hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon outside the process of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Mukerji said the day-long summit has "no legal basis for anything that will be negotiated and agreed to in the UNFCCC format."
He said Javadekar's presence in the summit demonstrates "India's political approach" and its "seriousness in being seen to be engaged in an international?conference at the multilateral level on climate change."
He said India's commitment and interest in Climate Change has been "historically established" since India was the first country to participate at the Prime Minister level in the Stockholm climate change negotiations in 1971.
"People who look at the India's interest in climate change should also look back because sometimes history teaches us how to anticipate the future," Mukerji siad.
"Unfortunately there is an impression that the (climate change summit) is some how linked to the climate change negotiations. It is not. It is unfair to look at participation of countries" on the basis of who is attending the summit, the Indian envoy said.
"The fact that we are participating shows politically we are together. Technically and legally the negotiations are not taking place in New York" during the summit, he said.
Mukerji stressed that commitments from India on climate change will come in UNFCCC's Conferences of the Parties and "not at an initiative" taken out of the convention forum.
He said there is no link between what happens at the New York summit and the UN climate change conference in Peru in December.
Ban Ki-moon had said that he "really wanted" Modi to participate in his crucial day-long climate change summit here next week, which will be attended by about 120 heads of states and government to mobilize political will for a universal and meaningful climate agreement next year.