Beijing: India bailed out China from isolation during the Copenhagen climate talks and saved it from getting ambushed by the US and EU which wanted it to sign an agreement on verification of emission levels much against its wishes, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday.
"Chinese leaders continue to harp on Copenhagen spirit because we were critical to China during the climate negotiations. At the Copenhagen talks Chinese in their heart of hearts know we saved them from isolation," Ramesh, who is on a visit here, said addressing the Foreign Correspondents` Club of China.
Asked how India was critical to China for a sustained relationship, he said New Delhi had not yet reached a stage where it was critical to Beijing. But the Chinese leaders were well aware of benefits of friendship with India as established during the last year`s climate negotiations.
During the climate talks, both the US and EU countries were determined to ambush China and get it sign a legally binding treaty, the minister said.
"The strategy of the most of the countries was to ambush China because it is the largest emitter of green house gases," amounting to 23 percent of the global emissions, he
The US has not ratified Kyoto Protocol saying that they would not do unless the Chinese do so.
The strategy, Ramesh said, was to get China sign on "some international agreement to give legal status" but "it did not happen."
"Given our English skills and our more cussedness in negotiating skills we bailed the Chinese out of many a difficult situations. Chinese know India was absolutely essential for the fact that China did not get isolated at Copenhagen," he said, adding that but for the agreement which was signed by BASIC along with US President Barrack Obama, Washington would have launched a tirade against Beijing for scuttling climate talks.
"Had the agreement with Obama was not signed he would have gone back to the US and painted China a villain of peace. The fact that he signed (accord), it gave Chinese a way out. They realised that," he said.
Ramesh also refuted allegations by European commentators that India and China scuttled Copenhagen talks. He said developing countries like India and China could have never
signed a binding agreement without firm binding commitment from developed countries.
Part of the frustration of the Europeans was that they were completely bypassed by Obama and BASIC -- Brazil, South Africa, India and China -- during the climate talks, he said.
"Europe has not got used to the fact it completely got bypassed in the last two days of the talks. Frankly Copenhagen Accord was President Obama`s accord with the BASIC group
facilitated by India and China," the Environment Minister said.
Ramesh, who yesterday was openly critical of the Indian Home Ministry accusing it of stalling the import by India of the Chinese telecom equipment and raising "alarmist" security concerns, defended the emerging rapprochement between the two countries.
The area of cooperation of climate change has given both India and China an opportunity to work together in a field that has significance across the developmental spectrum.
"When we are talking of climate, we are talking of energy, forestry, transportation and industry. Climate change is an entry point in a whole set of areas," he said, adding
that it has led to cooperation in the fields like forestry.
Ramesh also argued that while India may not be critical to China, India`s massive expansion of infrastructure offered a big scope for Beijing to invest and reap benefits.
India would have been `no use` for China had its GDP remained very low. But the fact that India too was developing rapidly with 8.5 percent growth rate offering billions of
dollars of worth of business for Chinese investment, which already crossed USD 30 billion, made a difference, he said.
"We are offering a large market to Chinese companies ... 80 percent of infrastructure by 2030 is waiting to be built. 20 percent of power generating capacity to be built by 2012
will come from Chinese equipment. We are not yet critical for them but they are critical to us," he said.
India`s leadership in software is also proving
advantageous. The Chinese have not yet figured out why India
is continuing to lead in software, the minister said.
"They are ahead of us in hardware, we are far ahead of
China in software. If we are able to develop the leadership,
they will come to us and we will be important," he said,
adding that some of the provinces close to Indian borders are
also recognising the benefits of close relations.
"We are important to certain provinces like Yunnan in
southwest China. There the mindset is quite different as it is
contiguous with India. They are trying to build new markets
for their province," he said.