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Looking towards action-oriented, tangible outcomes: Indian Envoy on UNGA week

File photo of Syed Akbaruddin. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 23, 2019, 03.56 AM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Indian envoy to United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin spoke exclusively to WION's Principal Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal in New York ahead of UN General Assembly (UNGA) high-level meeting next week. During the conversation, the Indian envoy said India is looking for action-oriented, tangible outcomes to the challenges faced by the global community. 

He also extensively spoke about India's climate strategy and the Gandhi solar park built on the UN roof by Indian government's grant.  

WION: Tell us about the Gandhi Solar park built with India's help on the roof of the United Nations?

Syed Akbaruddin: The United Nations is now focused on climate action. The summit that is being called by the UN Secretary-General is focused on tangible concrete climate action. So when we looked at our participation in this summit, we looked at how we can contribute to the UN and its goals. We also looked at our own traditions. Ours is a tradition that revers the sun god. We also believe that the sun not only the source of energy but a source of very life itself. This goes back to millennia in our tradition. For all these things we chose, a solar park because it will symbolise in a very tangible and manifest way, the link between India's civilisational heritage as well as our future vision.

Gandhi Ji is known, as a votary and prophet of non-violence and his views on those issues are well known but less is known, how he was focused on sustainability, environment, clean energy and simplicity in life. all these are reflected in solar energy and that is why we choose the solar park and since it will be a tribute to Gandhiji on his 150 birth anniversary; we have in consultation with UN-designated it as Gandhi solar park. We hope PM Modi will be joined by UN Secretary-General and other leaders on 24 September.

WION: How is India shaping the global discourse on Climate Change?

Syed Akbaruddin: You have to understand, one-sixth of the world community is in India, and whatever we do will impact globally. Our Prime Minister is committed to a way of life which is in harmony with nature. 

His view is, for generations Indians have lived in harmony with nature and therefore they should continue that lifestyle which has sustained us for all our known history. And that is our effort.

In terms of climate change, we have committed ourself to a path which is sustainable and which has components of renewable energy, and that is why we have increased our commitments under the Paris accord more than 4 years ahead of schedule. We have the ambition, the vision to keep pushing for a sustainable renewable path for development. 

WION: India is sending a strong message with the establishment of the solar park. How will this message echo when PM Modi speaks at a climate summit?

Syed Akbaruddin: We are grateful that the United Nations has given PM Modi pride of place in terms of speakers. His vision about how India intends to take forward a renewable and sustainable path towards development will find echos because we are a developing country, because we are a country which is committed to sustainable lifestyle and world is looking at us to be a pathfinder and to be a facilitator to what is increasingly a major a concern globally that unless we act, man-made climate change will overwhelm all of us.

WION: You must be talking to your counterparts. What have they been saying about India's role?

Syed Akbaruddin: You will notice that we have engagement with a large array of developing countries. Many of them are members of the international solar alliance, so unprecedented effort and outreach PM Modi will be meeting numerous leaders. This is a first for us, this is a unique way of engagement and you will see tangible outcomes next week when meetings take place. I don't want to preempt those outcomes. All I can tell you, India is looking towards action-oriented, tangible outcomes to challenges the international community is facing.