Expressing concern over media reports that suggest a change in India's climate policy, 43 organisations have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging that any such change should not compromise the country's development index.
"India's climate policy must be founded on the development needs of the majority of its population and the needs of India's future development. Any moves that run counter to this overarching objective would certainly be against the long-term development and strategic interests of the country and its people," the letter said.
"India should definitely take appropriate and ambitious steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change regardless of finance and technology from Annex 1 countries. These steps need to be ascertained through national consensus and should contribute in meeting India's development objectives," it said.
The letter was signed by 85 individuals, and organisations like ActionAid, an international charity, the Delhi Science Forum and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Talking about the initiative, Raman Mehta of ActionAid said: "Some reports suggest that Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh is pushing towards the acceptance of binding commitments on emission reductions by India without any matching commitments from the developed nations."
"Above all, there is not even a hint of what binding commitments for serious and deep emission cuts are going to be made by the developed countries. However, such commitments by large developing countries must be conditional to what the developed countries do," he said.
For instance, serious and deep emission cuts by the developed nations amounting to reducing emissions to below 40 percent by 2020 and 95 percent by 2050 should be one of the conditions, Mehta said.
"The civil society in India would oppose any moves to change India's negotiating position in the direction being suggested by the government and that has been expressed in the letter to the prime minister today (Wednesday)," Mehta said.