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PM leaves today for G-20 meetings in Mexico, Earth Summit in Brazil

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As the shadow of the debt crisis is set to impact the (G-20) developing nations’ meet in Mexico and the in Brazil next week, India today cautioned world leaders against resorting to protectionism and restrictive trade policies in the garb of green economics.

Prime Minister leaves tomorrow to participate in these summits at a time when some political parties are taking sharp turns over presidential candidates.

When asked whether the prime minister will be tensed about the domestic political issues while attending the meetings, Union Environment and Forests Minister told reporters: "Absolutely not. This is a political democracy. The Congress is more than a century old. The prime minister is well-entrenched in his second term. We honour our international commitments."

The ruling United Progressive Alliance today decided to field finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as its candidate for the July 19 presidential election, amid opposition from key ally Mamata Banerjee to his nomination.

Natarajan, who will be India's principal negotiator in the Earth Summit, to be held in Rio de Janeiro on June 20-22 , refused to take any further political questions over the issue.

Explaining India's position in the the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), or the Earth Summit, being organised after the first such summit in Rio 20 years ago, she said: "We are very particular that Rio + 20 outcomes should not result in trade-restrictive measures or protectionist policies."

Her comments assumed importance as Europe had proposed to tax carriers that don't share carbon emissions data with it.

Natarajan said her ministry had taken strong objection to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which according to her, was a restrictive unilateral trade measure, disguised as climate change action.

EU should not impose it. "I have written to EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard. We have taken strong objection. I think, they have deferred it by a year," said the minister.

On funding by advanced nations to help developing countries to pursue the agenda of sustainable economic growth, Natarajan said the funding should be predictable and through public finance.

"The governments have made commitments; they should also provide for realisations — $30 billion per year from 2013 to 2017, $100 billion per year from 2018 onwards. In fact, we are pointing that UN studies have shown developing countries need at least $1.9 trillion per year for sustainable development. So, developed countries should give committed official development assistance, that is 0.7 per cent of their gross national product."

The minister added India had voluntarily agreed to reduce per capita emissions by 20-25 per cent by 2020 from the 2005 levels, pursuing a target of 20,000 megawatts of solar electricity generation and following specific energy efficiency benchmarks to cover 470 industrial sectors.

Mexico, which hosts the G-20 meetings on June 18-19 in Los Cabos, has listed five priorities for the event — economic stabilisation and structural reforms, strengthening financial system and fostering financial inclusion, improving international financial architecture, enhancing food security by addressing volatility in global commodity prices and promoting green growth — said Syed Akbaruddin, joint secretary at the ministry of external affairs.

Prime Minister Singh will hold bilateral meetings with host Mexican President Felipe Calderón, French President Francois Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Singh will also hold deliberations with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), to be held on the sidelines of the G-20 meetings.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Economic Affairs Secretary R Gopalan are India's negotiators in G-20 meetings, the MEA official said.

Besides, T K A Nair, adviser to the prime minister, Shiv Shankar Menon, national security adviser, Pulok Chatterjee, principal secretary in the Prime Minister's Office and Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai are part of the delegation.

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