But we are eternally hopeful, would look forward to post-summit negotiations, says Nirupama Rao.

Anticipating only a political statement at the end of the Conference of Parties (COP) meeting on climate change in Copenhagen, India on Wednesday said such an outcome would not measure up to its expectations.

“But we are eternally hopeful and would look forward to post-Copenhagen negotiations,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told journalists on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s departure to Copenhagen on Thursday.

A key objective of India and its coalition partners was to ensure that any further work in the post-Copenhagen phase of negotiations proceeded on the basis of the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Bali Action Plan, Ms. Rao said, suggesting an extension of the talks for the next meeting scheduled in Mexico in the second half of 2010.

The Foreign Secretary said that from the current state of negotiations, it appeared that the developed countries were not prepared for a comprehensive outcome that would bind them to fulfil the commitments for emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC. “It appears that the COP-15 chair is working towards a political agreement, and not a legally binding agreement that would cover immediate and strong action in all areas of the Bali mandate that would set the parties on track for a comprehensive legal framework during 2010,” she said.

Asserting that India would stand up and safeguard its interests, Ms. Rao said there was virtue in the argument because New Delhi would not accept emission cuts and peaking period at the present stage of development. India’s contention was backed by many developing nations.

From India’s perspective, Ms. Rao said, it needed to ensure that this expression of a fresh political commitment did not become a template for a new mandate that detracted from the Bali Action Plan and dissolved the fundamental differentiation in the nature of commitments and action among the developed as well as developing countries as mandated by the Bali road map.

India was working in the BASIC — with Brazil, South Africa and China — and was also in close touch with Africa. G-77, as the largest grouping of developing countries, was playing a useful role in helping the member-states coordinate their approach to the negotiations, though there were groups within G-77 with a very specific perspective such as the small island states.

“We expect an effective and equitable outcome at the summit, but the emission reduction numbers for the developed nations put on the table so far are disappointing,” she said. She admitted that the negotiations were complex.

According to the Foreign Secretary, there were no bilateral meetings lined up for the Prime Minister as of now, and the exact format of heads of state-level session on December 18 was still evolving. A formal plenary session with the country statement was also not expected, as the heads of state were going to Copenhagen on the invitation of the Danish Prime Minister.

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