New Delhi: India cannot be bullied, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said today, responding to US concerns over India's pace of climate change action ahead of the key Paris summit that starts on Monday.
"You can't bully India, the message is clear. Developed countries need to provide carbon space to developing countries," Mr Javadekar told NDTV, calling remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry "unfair".
"We will not be opposing but we will be proposing real changes needed to ensure we have balanced growth and balanced environment. There should be a durable agreement and we need to trust each other," he said.
In an interview Mr Kerry had praised China's role in the talks but raised concerns regarding India. "India has been more cautious, a little more restrained in its embrace of this new paradigm, and it's a challenge," he said. "We've got a lot of focus on India right now to try to bring them along," he added.
Under pressure from powers like the US, India's climate negotiators say their approach at the Paris climate change summit will be "proactive and balanced". Following the lead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they will be calling for "climate justice".
India has sent a 25-member delegation to Paris - a mix of negotiators and bureaucrats drawn from over six ministries including external affairs, power, coal, earth sciences, and agriculture besides environment.
India's experts say the country's position is difficult and unique. It has rising pollution levels but much of its population remains poor. While it faces rising energy needs, there is pressure from the developed world to dump dirty fuels like coal.
With 200 million people with no access to electricity, India has said it will not accept any restrictions on its use of coal despite being the world's third largest carbon polluter. India, however, has set a target of 175 gigawatts of power through renewable resources by 2022.