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Poor have equal right to energy: Modi to G7 summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with U.S. President Joe Biden as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks, at the Bavarian resort of Schloss Elmau castle in Germany.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with U.S. President Joe Biden as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks, at the Bavarian resort of Schloss Elmau castle in Germany. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Access to energy should not be a privilege of the rich and the poor also should have equal right to energy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday. In his remarks at a special session of the G7 summit in Germany, Mr. Modi said the clean energy sector has emerged as a major domain in India and developed economies should invest in this arena. The G7 summit was dominated by the Ukraine crisis but Mr. Modi referred to the ongoing war in Europe indirectly.

"All of you will also agree with this that energy access should not be the privilege of the rich only. A poor family also has the same rights on energy. And today, when energy costs are sky-high due to geopolitical tensions, it is more important to remember this thing," Mr. Modi said in his remarks at a session of the summit on "Investing in a better future: Climate, Energy, Health".

India, along with South Africa, Indonesia, Argentina and Senegal, are the guests at this year's G7 summit.

Mr. Modi’s remarks on the alternate energy scene in India showed India’s efforts to blend in with the dominant agenda of the G7 grouping that’s aimed at severing links between the Russian energy sector and major buyers like China and India, the focus of the West for purchasing Russia’s Ural crude at a steep discount. Western economies have been championing “clean energy” as an alternative to the risk prone oil and gas mix.

"Today, a huge market for clean energy technologies is emerging in India. G-7 countries can invest in research, innovation, and manufacturing in this field. The scale that India can provide for every new technology can make that technology affordable for the whole world," Mr. Modi said.

The Indian Prime Minister said that India's commitment to environmental protection has remained unaffected despite setbacks that the country suffered during its long civilisational history. "Ancient India had seen a time of immense prosperity; then we have also tolerated the centuries of slavery, and now independent India is the fastest growing big economy in the whole world," said Mr. Modi referring to India's projected post-pandemic growth rate that is expected to be 7.5% according to the World Bank.

He said, India accounts for 17% of the global population but is responsible for 5% of global carbon emission and added, "The main reason behind this is our lifestyle, which is based on the theory of co-existence with nature."

Mr. Modi was earlier welcomed around midday by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at Schloss Elmau, the venue for the G7 summit. He also had a "tea break" with French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently faced an electoral setback and lost absolute majority in the French Parliament.

Following the meeting, French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain, in a social media message, said, "Friendship at the highest level: President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a crucial G7 summit for collective decisions on global challenges and world stability."

Mr Modi also met the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Indonesian President Joko Widodo and discussed fintech, food processing and connectivity.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 8:00:22 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pm-modi-meets-joe-biden-emmanuel-macron-and-justin-trudeau-at-g7-summit/article65570558.ece