Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will leave for Copenhagen on Thursday to participate in the heads of state meeting at the climate summit, officials in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.
“Yes, he will leave on Thursday and it will be a small team that will accompany him. He will also be leaving in a smaller aircraft to send a bigger message on improving India's carbon footprint,” said a senior PMO official.
Speculation was rife that the prime minister would not attend the summit and that India would be represented by Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh and the prime minister's special envoy for climate change, Shyam Saran.
But, according to the PMO, there had been a rethink and it was decided that Manmohan Singh would travel to Copenhagen.
“He will be there for two days. Shyam Saran is expected to return on Wednesday and will be accompanying the prime minister on the trip,” said an official.
India has already announced that it would consider an emission intensity cut of 20 to 25 percent by 2020, but would not be forced into accepting unilateral cuts decided by developed countries.
US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao have also expressed their intention to attend the 15th conference of signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that began December 9.
The conference, attended by at least 65 world leaders, intends to produce a new global climate change treaty on limiting emissions of greenhouse gases.