Durban: In the wake of a week-long intense squabbling between India and the European Union (EU) at climate talks here, a top EU negotiator has clarified that developed nations do not want India to harm its economy but the country still needs to agree to a legally binding treaty.
"We would never dream of asking India to harm its economy," EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said.
"We fully recognise India's right to grow and we are fully aware that India has lot of development needs and needs to access energy," Hedegaard said.
"But the challenge is that we just think that a treaty in the world of the 21st century must have the same legal value for everyone," she added. "We would never ask India to take the same kind of responsibilities as the developed world."
Tensions between India and the EU were high during the course of climate negotiations in Durban where 194 countries had gathered to decide the next steps to combat climate change.
So far, no deal has been brokered and the conference, which was to conclude on Friday, is expected to run into Sunday afternoon.
By Saturday evening many of the ministers had left Durban. But top negotiators of key countries walked in and out plenary halls looking rather exhausted. Most of them had got little sleep since negotiations have been running around the clock for two days now.
The central question of the talks is whether India, China and the US will agree to the EU Roadmap, which means signing up to a legally binding treaty by 2015 so that it comes into force by 2020.
While India has been described as 'stumbling block' in the talks, it continues to stress the role of 'equity' and 'historical responsibility.'
New Delhi maintains that its overriding priority is poverty eradication.
"I can see that countries will not be as ambitious as the EU would like," said Hedegaard, responding to whether the Roadmap would be accepted. "But I think we will see substantial steps forward."