Shyam Saran, Prime Minister’s special envoy on climate change, today demitted office after a fruitful tenure which saw him play a key role in ending India’s nuclear isolation and drafting policies on environment-related issues.
Saran resigned from the post on February 19 reportedly after having differences with Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. However, he was permitted to demit office on March 14.
Saran was initially appointed special envoy during negotiations relating to the Indo-US Nuclear deal in August 2006, after he retired from the foreign secretary’s post.
His role was expanded in April 2008 to cover climate diplomacy as well to mobilise support for India’s stand on climate change issues ahead of the December 2009 Copenhagen summit.
Saran and Ramesh were at loggerheads on several issues including the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol.
Saran refused to speak on whether there were other reasons for his decision to leave the office.
“No there are not. I had indicated well in advance to the PMO that March 14 would be my last working day. This is not something new. There are no differences with the minister, he is my good friend,” the 1970 IFS batch official said.
Saran who had served as Foreign Secretary from July 2004 to September 2006 played a key role in the India-US civil nuclear deal and drafting of several of the eight missions under India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
He has also served as Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Indonesia and Myanmar and High Commissioner to Mauritius.