"India brought China onboard at Copenhagen. US actually owes a lot to India," said Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh in New Delhi on Friday.
Speaking at an interaction organised by Aspen Institute of India, he said, the US Congressmen wanted to go back from Copenhagen with a paper that China was on board and it was India, which brought China on board.
India had sealed a Climate Agreement with China in October. The Chinese took a leadership role in the negotiations but were not ready to talk one to one with US but always as a part of the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) group, he added.
He said none of the four countries of BASIC group wanted to be "responsible for the breakdown of Copenhagen" . "They had written off Copenhagen and were discussing how to pre-empt finger pointing by other countries when US President Barack Obama entered the negotiations almost "unannounced" and in next 75 minutes the Copenhagen Accord was finalised," he pointed out.
Of the three main contentious issues the BASIC group got away with success in two and a half, by being able to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degree Celsius, not accepting any internationally legally binding agreement, and allowing only "consultation and analyses" based on international guidelines but done in a manner that respects national sovereignty, he said.
India's traditional image as a "nay sayer" was changed and India was seen as responsible nation and as part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.
"One lesson that India must learn from Copenhagen that we must negotiate from position of strength and not defensively. What we are going to do rather than what cannot do".
Copenhagen, "a major watershed event" saw the emergence of new world order with US and BASIC negotiating and Europe in the background, he said.
"The challenge will be to ensure Copenhagen Accord helps and is used to strengthen multilateral negotiations in December 2010," he added.
A ministerial meeting of the BASIC group is slated to be held in New Delhi from Jan 25-28, to take stock of the situation, he said.
"This morning, we set up an expert group to prepare the road map for low carbon growth strategy at the central level," he added.
Power, transport and building were three most important areas requiring energy efficiency to reduce carbon footprint, he pointed out.
"We have to change from a command and control mode to an incentive- disincentive mode for environment management," he said.
"While we reject internationally binding laws we must "be ruthless domestically" and bring in legally binding laws in transporation, industry, building, power.
"By taking effective steps at the national level we will be able to dictate international discourse," he pointed out.