Days before climate change will be discussed among top global leaders at G-20 summit in Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dropped hardliners and kept climate experts with "flexible" approach in his council on climate change.
Sunita Narain director general of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and former environment secretary Pradipto Ghosh inducted in the council by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007 and considered "hardliners" on India's climate stand were dropped.
The only industry representative in the council former Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata did not find place in the new council.
The PM, however, retained RK Pachauri, chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, a distinguished fellow with TERI from the last council. Another TERI distinguished fellow, Nitin Desai, a former United Nations under secretary general, has also been included.
Former special secretary in the environment ministry and co-chair of the first working group on new climate treaty to be signed in Paris in 2015, JM Mauskar, also finds place in the new council.
Even though the council appears to be full of people who had been associated with the government, officials said the Prime Minister has left the door open to include more experts in the council as and when required.
The reconstitution of the council, which has not met for the last three years, is indicative Prime Minister Modi's priority to climate change before the G-20 Summit in Brisbane on November 15 and 16 and the next climate change conference in Lima, Peru at fag end of November.
"India's climate stand will not be stubborn like that of the UPA government," said a senior government functionary, while pointing out at Modi agreeing to discuss the issue of refrigerant coolants under the Montreal Protocol in his first meeting with US President Barack Obama. The UPA had resisted the US offer for long saying the issue of the coolants should be discussed under the climate convention. "We would be flexible while keeping in mind the country's interests," he said, adding the council will meet soon to discuss India's future strategy.
The mandate of the council would be evolving a coordinated response to issues relating to climate change at the national level, providing oversight for formulation of action plans in the area of assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change and monitor key policy decisions.
A government statement, however, made no mention of the eight missions initiated by the last council under Prime Minister's Action Plan on Climate Change.