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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jairam suggests new climate team, drops Prodipto Ghosh - The Times of India

Jairam suggests new climate team, drops critics from list - India - The Times of India:

Printed from- Times of India
Jairam suggests new climate team, drops critics from list
Nitin Sethi, TNN, Mar 4, 2010, 03.13am IST

NEW DELHI: Union environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh has dropped Prodipto Ghosh and Chandrashekhar Dasgupta — his most vocal critics — from the suggestive list forwarded to the PM for reconstitution of the core negotiating group on climate change.

The core negotiating group (CNG) is the set of advisers — serving and retired government officials — who advise the government on the international climate change negotiations and the stance and strategies India should take to further its cause at the complex talks.

The minister has forwarded a new suggestive list after dropping the names of the two veterans that he has often found himself at odds with. But the final say on the CNG lies with PM Manmohan Singh. The PMO is yet to take a view on the issue, sources told TOI.

When contacted on the issue, Jairam Ramesh told TOI: "It is very premature to say who is in and who isn't. It is still under discussion."

Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, India's most senior climate negotiator and a retired Indian Foreign Service officer, along with the ex-environment secretary Prodipto Ghosh, another old hand at climate talks, have on several occasions in the past openly criticized the environment minister for altering India's stance without gaining any advantage at the climate talks and for keeping the team of official negotiators in blind about his moves.

The two, along with Shyam Saran — the PM's special envoy on climate change who recently resigned from the position — are known to have often held dramatically different views than the union minister on India's response to increasing pressure from developed countries to alter its long-standing stance.

With most others on the climate negotiating team being serving government officials, the two retired bureaucrats —Dasgupta and Ghosh — are seen as the only ones capable of joining issues with the minister publicly. They carry weight as individuals in the international diplomatic arena as on home ground with their criticism earlier having caused a political storm for Ramesh.

On one occasion in 2009 they had refused to represent India at crucial UN climate talks until the minister personally clarified his position to them after some controversial remarks in the press.

In the most recent episode Dasgupta had criticized the minister for questioning the most basic of principles of Indian climate diplomacy that even PM had repeatedly stated in his speeches.

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