09 May 2010

How India saved China from isolation at Copenhagen

India foiled an "ambush China" strategy of western nations including the United States at the climate change talks in Copenhagen last December. This is why Chinese leaders now regard India as a crucial partner in the global arena, Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for environment said here on Sunday.

"At the Copenhagen talks Chinese in their heart of hearts know we saved them from isolation," he said addressing the foreign correspondents' club of China. The developed countries were trying to get China, the world’s worst emitter of green house gas, to sign on "some international agreement to give legal status" until India made this impossible.

"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," Ramesh said.

What has emerged as a "Copenhagen spirit" of friendship between India and China that has high strategic significance far beyond the issue of climate change, he said. On the other hand, the US is very uneasy with the new spirit of "bonhomie between India and China," he said.

"The Americans do not trust Chinese data," Ramesh said while explaining why Washington was pushing for a rigorous system of verification on the issue of emissions. But the BASIC countries-Brazil, South Africa, India and China-finally forced the western nations to accept the principal of equity while drafting the final agreement.

The agreement that emerged last December was basically a deal between US president Barack Obama and the BASIC while the Europeans were entirely bypassed. But for India’s intervention, there would have been no pact and Obama would have blamed China as the "villain of the piece".
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