Declaring that India has come to the climate conference with an “open mind”, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Tuesday said the developed countries' projection of legally binding agreement being a “panacea” for climate change was “completely off the mark“.

“In these negotiations, some countries have projected the question of a legally binding agreement in future as a panacea for climate change...This is completely off the mark”, Ms. Natrajan told a joint press conference called by the BASIC countries as a mark of solidarity.

As the high-level segment of the climate change talks kicked off, Ms. Natarajan stressed that she is looking for more reassurances from the developed world.

“I have come to Durban with an open mind,” she said in response to the demand for a new legally-binding treaty being raised here by the European Union, Japan and other parties.

“But I would like to know whether it would be binding only for mitigation and whether it will be same for Annex—1 [developed] and non—Annex 1 countries [developing],” she added.

Ms. Natrajan, who is spearheading India's efforts at the climate conference, said New Delhi needed the fulfillment of “fundamental imperatives” before it would consider being part of a legally binding treaty.

“We seek but we do not have answers to these,” she said.

These “fundamental imperatives” include rapid action by developed countries on carbon emissions reduction, finance and technology as well as addressing India's concern of intellectual property rights, unilateral trade measures and equity.