Special Correspondent

Calls for the global economy to be set in motion again

Key to tackle global warming is to change approaches

“Crisis should be seen as an opportunity”

CHENNAI: The current economic crisis cannot be an excuse to postpone international mobilisation of funds to halt climate change, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said on Friday.

At a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Dr. Bachelet emphasised the importance of addressing climate change. Listing the economic crisis and global warming as the most pressing challenges today, she said the key to tackle global warming was to change the short-term approaches taken until now.

“The crisis should be seen as an opportunity for a new global environment agreement that would lay the foundation for a low emission global economy that would ensure lasting prosperity. We will be in a position to make a historical leap towards sustainable human activity,” Dr. Bachelet added. Substantial economic resources across the world should be earmarked for new technologies that would facilitate a smooth transition to a global economy less dependent on fossil fuel.

Spelling out the future agenda for both the nations, Dr. Bachelet called to set the global economy in motion again, in order to prevent a social collapse along with an economic collapse. “We are being given the opportunity to establish a new world order that would be more democratic and sensitive,” she added.

Expressing Chile’s interest in trade and investments, Dr. Bachelet said: “We wish to improve bilateral agreements [with India]. We are even willing to go one step further because we understand that our economies do not compete but are complementary to each other.” She also stressed the need to integrate mutual technological capabilities to foster innovative policies that will benefit the nations and provide opportunities for future generations.

While Chile had made significant strides in development, the country could not afford to be self-indulgent, being fully aware of the challenges in a competitive world. The ability to develop lies in being able to foster innovation, with particular emphasis on education and human capital and investments in research and development. “Innovation is the strategic imperative of any country that wants to give its citizens a good future,” she said.

While Chile’s strength areas such as mining, agriculture and the food industry offer outstanding opportunities for collaboration with India, Dr. Bachelet said she was also interested in the technology advantage that India had. In order to successfully penetrate the global market, Chile had a lot to learn from India, the world’s leading supplier of technological services.

Venu Srinivasan, president-designate, CII, said India’s trade with Chile had grown significantly over the last few years and was at about $ 2 billion. Trade relations should be strengthened between the two nations, especially in IT, education, healthcare and telecommunications. From Chile, India could learn lessons from fish farming, agriculture and cold storage, distribution and processing of food products.

He signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of CII with the Chile-India Chamber of Commerce represented by its president Hernan Somerville.

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