India should play a major role in bringing about a new deal on global warming and avoiding the pitfalls of the developed countries while developing its own economy, Britain's Secretary of State for Environment David Miliband said on Saturday.
"It is very important India plays a strategic role in the battle against global warming and in that it should get necessary help from every one," Miliband said on the eve of his four-day visit to India commencing in Delhi on Sunday.
"Global warming is a challenge to all countries and I am interested in learning how India is coping up with it.
"25 per cent of the Indian population lives in coastal areas and 27 per cent of the Indian economy is agro-based and climate change and rising sea levels are desperately dangerous for the Indian people and the Indian economy," he said.
Most scientists concur that temperatures would rise by two to six degrees Celsius this century, mainly because of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels for power and transport, putting millions of lives at risk from flood and famine.
"The British government wants to have a real partnership of equals with the Indian government in coming to terms with climate change and global warming. We feel there is a moral and economic responsibility for the industrialized countries to show that they are willing to take the lead in cutting carbon emissions.
"But there is also a requirement that all countries are part of a global emissions reduction deal," Miliband said.
The Kyoto Protocol is the only global deal on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but the United States withdrew from it and China and India, the two emerging economies, are not bound by it.
It expires in 2012 and negotiations to find a way forward, or a successor, are sluggish.
"It is vital that there is a real engagement with the issue of how you combine development goals and climate change goals. My message will be if you want to be pro-growth you have got to be pro-green," MIliband said.
"We have got to realise that 2007 is a very important year for the debate about how the international community tackles climate change, and India is a vital player in that," he said.
"We want to take a lead ourselves. We want to ensure that all the other industrialised countries like the Americans
And Canadians are playing their full part."
He said renewal energy would be one of the topics of discussion with Indian leaders.
"We have a close collaboration on renewal energy issue with India and we need to have an international global emission reduction deal," he said.
He said he was "very much looking forward" to his visit to India, the second one after nearly three years. Earlier he had visited as Secretary of State for Schools.
His engagements include speaking at the Sustainable Development Summit in Delhi and meeting captains of industry to hear their views on the role of the private sector in meeting the joint sustainability challenges.
He will also speak at the premier of the UK Environmental Film Fellowships launch by the British Council.