I am delighted to inaugurate the Indian Pavilion. This is the first day of a historic summit in Paris. We stand here in solidarity with Paris and France and in admiration for their resolve and courage.
The entire world, 196 nations, have come together to shape the future of this world and the health of our planet. This summit is of great significance to India’s future, too. This pavilion is a window to our heritage and our progress; our traditions and our technology; our aspirations and our achievements.
India’s new economic momentum is a subject of international attention and a source of global opportunity. Our progress will not just change the lives of one-sixth of humanity. It will also mean a more successful and prosperous world.
Equally, the choices the world makes here will have an impact on our development. Climate change is a major global challenge. But, climate change is not of our making. It is the result of global warming that came from the prosperity and progress of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel.
But, we in India face its consequences today. We see it in the risks of our farmers, the changes in weather patterns, and the intensity of natural disasters.
We are concerned about the rising oceans that will threaten our 7500 km of coastline and over 1300 islands. We worry about the retreat of glaciers that feed our rivers and nurture our civilisation.
That is why the outcome in Paris so important.
That is why we are here.
We want the world to act with urgency. We want a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement, which must lead us to restore the balance between humanity and Nature and between what we have inherited and what we will leave behind.
This will mean a partnership in which those who have the luxury of choices and the capability of technology will make adjustments to sharply reduce their carbon emission.
The extent of their commitment and the strength of their action must be consistent with the carbon space they occupy.
And, they must leave enough of what is left of our carbon space to let developing countries grow.
They should share resources and technology with those who live between want and hope, so that we can meet the universal aspiration for clean energy.
It will also mean that the developing world will also try to have a lighter carbon footprint on their growth path.
We want the conviction of the world to be matched by efforts to create conditions in which we can succeed.
Because our challenge is pressing, our efforts must be urgent.
These will be the subject of negotiations over the next few days.
I am here in the Indian Pavilion to say something else. And, I speak not just to the world, but also to our people.
India’s progress is our destiny and the right of our people. But, we are a nation that must also lead in combating climate change.
It stems from our obligation to give our people clean air; clean rivers; resilient farms; healthy habitats; and, forests rich with life.
It comes from our conviction that we must aim not just for higher incomes, but better quality of life.
It comes from our commitment to the world.
Above all, it arises, from our timeless traditions and beliefs.
The choices a people make are shaped by their culture and beliefs.
In India, Nature has always been treated as Mother.
Since ancient times, we have seen humanity as part of Nature, not superior to it. The divine has manifested in Nature’s diverse forms.
We have always believed that Nature does not exist for human race, but that we can’t exist without Nature. So, Nature is meant to provide and nurture, not to exploit.
When Nature is in equilibrium, our lives and our world will be in balance.
This is what we learn from Kshetrapati Sukta in our Rig Veda.
क्षेत्रस्य पते मधुमन्तमूर्मिं धेनुरिव पयो अस्मासु धुक्ष्व ।
मधुश्चुतं घृतमिव सुपूतमृतस्य नः पतयो मृळयन्तु ॥
O Lord of Field, with the Sweet Waves of Mother Nature’s blessings, may you milk our Fields like the Milk of a Cow With the Sweetness of Mother Nature’s bounty, which falls like Clarified Butter, may You shed your Grace on us.
This is why Atharva-Veda calls it a bounden duty that we must protect the Earth so that Life can be sustained.
This is what we see in Gandhiji’s life and his advice that the world has enough for everyone’s need but not for anyone’s greed.
This is what we have tried to capture in the publication PARAMPARA that we have released today.
This is why recycling and conservation comes naturally to us. And, why we have sacred groves across our nation.
And, it is this spirit that leads us to set an ambitious and comprehensive strategy to combat climate change.
We have a target for renewable generation of 175 Gigawatt by 2022. We have got off to a good start, with nearly 12 GW likely to be installed by 2016, more than three times the current capacity.
Like cellular phones before, we can use renewable energy to bring power to our 18000 unconnected villages quickly and cleanly.
By 2030, 40% of our installed capacity will be based on non-fossil fuel.
We will convert waste to energy. We will make our cities smart and sustainable, and transform public transportation, including through 50 new metro rail projects.
We are investing in supercritical technology in thermal plants. We have imposed tax on coal and reduced subsidies on petroleum products. We are raising fuel standards for automobiles. And, we have introduced tax free bonds for renewable energy.
We have a massive programme to expand our forest cover and protect our biodiversity.
In the past few months, millions of households have switched to LED bulbs and we have plans to replace diesel by fuel cells to power the thousands of our telecom towers.
Our vision of India as a global manufacturing hub rests on the simple principle of “zero defect, zero effect” – production that is perfect and leaves no footprint on environment.
Our mission of “more crop per drop” will not only improve the lives of farmers, but will also reduce the pressure on a scarce resource.
And, research and innovation in clean energy is a high priority.
We want to make conventional energy, like coal, cleaner.
We will make renewable energy cheaper and convenient to install even in our homes. We want to make it more reliable and easier to feed into our transmission lines.
From governments to communities, there are countless examples of innovation and enterprise that are restoring the health of our environment.
I have tried to capture some of these initiatives in my book, Convenient Action, which we shall present today.
This is the voice of our people, the call of our nation and the consensus of our polity.
India’s leadership on environment has been the vision of Indian leaders and successive governments – from Stockholm in 1975 to Copenhagen in 2009.
We are raising our national effort to an entirely new level. And, we are intensifying our international partnerships.
So, we come to Paris with our commitment, but we also come with hope.
So, we approach the negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in a spirit of partnership, which must be based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.
Later today, I will join leaders from major developed and developing world for an innovation summit; because I believe that innovation and technology hold the key to our collective success.
President Hollande and I will also co-chair the launch of my long cherished dream of an international solar alliance to promote greater use of solar energy in the 121 solar-rich nations.
To call the world to look deep into the ancient wisdom of all our civilisations, cultures and religions, I had requested President Hollande to bring out a book of quotations from around the world. I am happy that we will release it today.
And, I will also call for a change in lifestyles, so that we reduce the burden on our planet. For, the enduring success of our efforts will depend on the way we live and think.
In conclusion, therefore, let me return to the theme that defines us in India – the spirit of partnership, the belief in oneness with the whole that is Nature.
To the people of India and our friends in the world, I call you to live with the commitment of ‘Lokah Samastah Sukhinau Bhavantu’.
The desire for well being should include our planet, our Nature, all countries and the entire humanity.
If our thinking is right, we will form a true global partnership of capabilities and needs that leads us to a low carbon age.
Thank you very much.