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India needs to grow, we understand that: British minister


Kolkata : Britain understands the need for economic growth in India and would not pressurise New Delhi to reduce emissions, British Minister for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband said here Tuesday.

“I have not come here to ask your government to reduce emissions. I fully understand the requirement for growth in India, but we need to take the dialogue forward.

“If Copenhagen sends out a message of austerity and low-growth, then there will be few who will accept it. Neither the developed nor the developing world will be amenable to this,” Miliband said during a media interaction.

“I’m here to listen and take the message back to the UK. It is imperative that money is set aside for adaptation so that development is not curtailed once cuts are made. We interacted with the local communities here who are vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change. We have seen some of the threats that climate change has posed on these communities,” he said.

He said he was in India to promote high growth and low carbon emission and to learn the country’s needs ahead of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December.

Admitting that the UN Millennium Development Goals have gone off the track, he said the rich countries should also fulfil their promises they had made.

British Minister for International Development Douglas Alexander said, “We are here in South Asia to hear what climate change means for millions of people in India and Bangladesh. For this region, the case for the urgency of tackling climate change is beyond question.

“It’s the poorest who are most vulnerable to these natural disasters.”

He said that Department for International Development (DFID) was spending around Rs.300 crore annually in West Bengal on various sectors including health and nutrition, urban development, public sector reforms and mainstreaming climate change.

Miliband and Alexander, on a two-day visit to India, arrived in Kolkata Sep 1 after visiting Bangladesh where they witnessed the severity of climate change impact on millions of people.