Growth should take place in a way that does not harm the environment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday.

During his meeting with Environment Ministers of BASIC countries — Brazil, South Africa, India and China — Dr. Singh said the principle of equity - equal per capita rights to the atmospheric space - should be the goal of future negotiations on climate change, sources said.

India had successfully brought the principle of equity back to the table as one of the country’s key non-negotiable principle during Durban Climate talks which were attended by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.

Environment ministers of China, South Africa and Brazil informed the Prime Minister that the BASIC nations played a “constructive role” in Durban and also commended the role played by India in bringing equity back on global climate negotiation platform, the sources said.

The two-day New Delhi meeting of the group will discuss a united strategy for the group in the future negotiations on climate change and focus of the discussions would be the question of equity, they said.

Ahead of his meeting with Environment Ministers of BASIC countries, the Prime Minister said on Twitter that “Economic growth is essential for the people, but we cannot allow growth to be pursued in a manner which damages our environment”.

Environment Ministers of Singapore, Qatar and Swaziland will also attend a separate meeting of the BASIC Plus nations during the two-day summit.

Qatar is the host of the United Nations-sponsored climate talks COP 18 in December 2012.

This is for the first time that environment ministers of the four emerging economies are meeting again after the December climate change meet in Durban.

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