Unfazed by US pullout, PM to fight climate change
India is committed to protecting the climate, irrespective of the Paris agreement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Friday but avoided a direct reference to the US withdrawing from the international deal.
Addressing the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) here in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said India has traditionally been respecting the nature and desisted from exploiting it.
"Paris or no Paris, our commitment to preserving the climate is for the sake of future generations," Modi said while responding to a question about US President Donald Trump announcing withdrawal of the USA from the Climate Change deal.
He said he had made the same comment in Germany three days back when "nobody's comment had come", an apparent reference to Trump's announcement on Friday.
"I said it in then, I say it now," he added.
Trump earlier in the day said the US was withdrawing from the Paris climate change deal, agreed by more than 190 nations. He said it unfairly benefited countries like India and China.
Asked by the moderator whether India would side with the US or others on the Paris climate change deal, Modi replied, "it is not a question of which way I go. I will go with the future generations."
He underlined, "we must leave for our future generations a climate wherein they can breathe clean air and have a healthy life."
Earlier, addressing the event, the prime minister said, "India is a responsible nation with regard to climate change...We can milk the nature... Exploitation of nature is not acceptable to us," he said.
Modi also invited global businesses to invest in India, saying its market of 120 crore people provides vast opportunities from agriculture to defense, while being protected by political stability and a vibrant judicial system.
The sky is the limit in India. You can venture here in any area you want (to do business), Modi told a global audience in his plenary address at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) here.
This is the first time that an Indian Prime Minister is attending the SPIEF forum, which is held annually in St.Petersburg, Russia's second largest city and President Vladimir Putin's hometown.
Putin, who addressed the session before Modi, also spoke of Russia's attractiveness for investors.
Modi said that his government's journey toward developing India is built on investments in infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and services.