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India on Thursday reaffirmed its commitment to renewable energy with the promise to expand into all forms of energy that can reduce carbon footprint.
"India is fully committed to renewable energy for our future development, as are the Pacific island countries," Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said in his keynote address at the 'India-Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference' being held in Suva, Fiji.
"We are looking at expanding renewable energy very rapidly. Solar, wind, hydro, biomass - all forms of energy which can reduce the carbon footprint and help us leave a better planet for the next generation - are receiving unprecedented attention in India," he said.
The conference is being held under the framework of the Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation (Fipic) with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as the key knowledge partner. The first Fipic summit was held at the level of Heads of Government in November 2014 in Suva and the second one in August 2015 in Jaipur, India
"During the two Fipic summits that we have had so far, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has clearly articulated that India wishes to be a close partner of the Pacific islands and would work closely to advance the developmental agenda of Pacific island countries," Singh said.
"He has also said that India will provide technical assistance and training for capacity building to Pacific island partners to address climate change issues. To this effect India has taken up a number of initiatives for the benefit of our friends in this region."
In this connection, the minister referred to the International Solar Alliance, which was launched by India in partnership with France at the Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 climate summit in Paris in 2015 to develop and promote solar energy and and said it was an example of India's commitment to promoting the growth of renewable energy globally.
He said that India with its 7,500-km coastline and 1,000 islands has always been a maritime nation and has a lot in common with the Pacific island nations. "Climate change related natural hazards threaten the existence of the Pacific Islands and is severely impacting millions back in India, especially those living near our shoreline and our islands," Singh said.
"We both seek to highlight this to the world to solicit their cooperation to build resilience and adaptation of our economies. We need to join hands through knowledge sharing, technology sharing and capacity building to minimise the serious impact of natural hazards, limiting human and economic loss."
Singh said that there was a need for cutting edge engineering and technology "which is suitable for our economies and an opportunity to leap frog the learning curve with the help of next generation technologies, to provide a sustainable energy future to every citizen".
"There are many challenges we face as we pursue economic development for our people using sustainable pathways. But this is also an opportunity for us to think out of the box, and to maximise resource utilisation for the common good," he said.
Stating that the fortunes of India and the Pacific island nations were linked by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, he said: "Oceans are critical to both yours and India's future and there is huge potential for cooperation in this area. In the 21st century, oceans have once again reclaimed their role of vital drivers of growth and economies."
He hailed Fiji's presidency of the CoP 23 climate summit to be held in Bonn, Germany, and announced India's contribution of $1 million to the Fiji Trust Fund for this.
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