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December 1st, 2009

India has major stake in success of Copenhagen: Prime Minister

CHOGM 2009

Ahead of the 192-nation UN convention on climate change later this month, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2009 summit at Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago to push for"a balanced, equitable and ambitious outcome" at the climate talks.

In separate bilateral talks with Prime Minister Brown and President Sarkozy, Dr. Singh on November 27 stressed "emphatically that India had a major stake in the success of the Copenhagen conference", India's External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said. Dr. Singh told the British and French leaders that it was in India's interests to see a successful outcome at the December 7-18 Copenhagen meet on climate change. The leaders agreed on a balanced, ambitious and equitable outcome at the Copenhagen conference, the spokesperson said. Elaborating on India's position, the Prime Minister informed them about a slew of unilateral mitigation actions taken by India to curb greenhouse gas emissions and referred to India's national action plan on combating climate change.

The Prime Minister reiterated the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities of developed and developing nations for curbing emissions and stressed on the transfer of technologies and resources to enable developing countries combat climate change.

Only adequate transfer of technologies and resources can help developing countries in the process of tackling climate change, he told the two leaders.

The Prime Minister said that through the disinvestment policy the Government hoped "to see faster progress in the sale of a portion of government shareholding in the domestic market and issue of fresh equities in respect of the selected companies".

Our Summit in Port of Spain coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth. India, as a founder member of the Commonwealth, is celebrating the occasion through a number of initiatives. We have issued commemorative coins and released first-day covers and stamps to mark the occasion as an expression of our support for the values enshrined in the Commonwealth.

On this occasion, I am pleased to announce the following initiatives:

A fully financed Diplomatic Training Module will be organised in our Foreign Service Institute in 2010. I encourage Commonwealth members to avail of this opportunity to train their young diplomats in the Institute.

India will underwrite the cost of the first phase of the Commonwealth Partnership Platform Portal (CP3) and will support this programme as it develops.

As host to the Commonwealth 2010 Games, India will fund a post of Sports Adviser in the Commonwealth Secretariat.

India has long believed that stronger

South-South cooperation is essential for the transformation of our societies through skill enhancement and sharing of knowledge. India would earmark 250 slots under its International Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme for Commonwealth countries.

India's support to small states of the Commonwealth is well known and long-standing. India has been contributing $100,000 annually towards a Commonwealth tranche for a Small State Office in New York. In response to the Secretary- General's request, I am pleased to announce that India will contribute $80,000 per annum for a similar Small State Office in Geneva.

The Commonwealth Media Development Fund has been a success story. It gives me pleasure to announce that India will double its contribution to the Fund and will now contribute $120,000, spread over a period of two years.

We will support the Commonwealth Secretary-General's initiative to convene a body of National Election Commissions to share experiences.

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Commonwealth can lead again, says Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth II at Commonwealth Heads of Government

The Commonwealth has an opportunity to lead once more, this time in the fight against climate change, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II said as she opened the summit of the 53-nation group, ahead of the UN Copenhagen summit on climate change this month.

The Commonwealth can be proud of the fact that in each of the last six decades, it has shaped the international response to emerging global challenges, the Queen - titular head of the group - said at the opening ceremony on November 27.

The Queen said that the threat to the environment was not a new concern. "But it is now a global challenge which will continue to affect security and stability for years to come. Many of those affected are among the most vulnerable, and many of the people least able to withstand the adverse effects of climate change live in the Commonwealth."

She observed that a second area of opportunity for the Commonwealth was nurturing its young people. "As with environmental challenges, this area is not new.

But while the Commonwealth may rightly celebrate reaching its 60th anniversary, the future must show that it is relevant to and supportive of our young people who need to be convinced that the Commonwealth can help them realise their ambitions," she added.

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India promises first 'Green' Games

Blending sport with the threat of climate change, India on November 28 said it will hold the first-ever Green Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the best-ever sporting show, and underlined that the event will propel New Delhi to a world-class city.

Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the organising committee of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, made the remarks at a sports breakfast that the leaders and sports ministers of former British colonies attended.

The breakfast was held at the seaside Hotel Hyatt, where most of the world leaders participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting stayed.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Kalmadi reaffirmed India's commitment to holding the best-ever Commonwealth Games and a unique event that would have environment and climate as its focus. "We will hold the best-ever Commonwealth Games and the first green Commonwealth Games," Mr. Kalmadi said.

"Environment today is a critical component. Recognising this, we will strive towards reducing the carbon footprint to hold the first-ever Green Commonwealth Games and thus become the benchmark for all multidisciplinary games in the future,"

Mr. Kalmadi said at the sports breakfast. "India will invest in green infrastructure, pro-active waste management, greening and green ceremonies," Mr. Kalmadi said.

Outlining the detailed preparations for the Games and its expected spinoff for the Indian economy, Mr. Kalmadi said the mega sporting event will generate nearly $4.5 billion for India in the 2008-2012 period.

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