India’s commitment to climate protection

It is heartening to find that for once the Government of India was not cowed down by the ravings of a US President but stood its ground. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s emphatic rejection of Donald Trump’s silly charge that India signed the Paris agreement on climate change after ‘extracting billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from the developed countries” and her equally emphatic assertion that it was not out of greed for money but out of a genuine concern for preventing climate change that threatens the future of man that India became a co-signatory to the climate accord is suggestive of the Centre’s decision not to give in to US pressures but to stick to its own well-thought-out line of action on climate change.
But to be fair to Trump, he is not the first US President to have made such silly statements. One of his not-so-illustrious predecessors (George Bush) said, in not-too-distant a past, that there was hunger in the world because the people of India and China overate, making people of other countries starve. It was an insult to the people of India where tens of millions go hungry and are under-nourished due to their poverty to buy enough food. But the reaction that time was not so quick and not so emphatic as now. Donald Trump must also have been told the same day of ISRO’s feat that can make any nation proud: launching a satellite weighing more than three tonnes into a high orbit above the Earth. Space research is one field in which India is keeping pace with the ‘developed countries’ without getting ‘billions and billions and billions of dollars’ of financial or technological help from them.
Still earlier, in the mid-eighties of the last century, when the US was delaying the delivery of the Cray supercomputer out of fear that India would use it for nuclear research, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi asked Indian scientists to put their heads together and make a supercomputer that would be better than Cray. And to their credit, they did it. The Param supercomputer was made in a record time. It was much faster than Cray in computing speed and the Americans blamed themselves for not giving the Cray to India because now India had made a better computer. No doubt, in course of time India’s highly professional community of scientists and technologists will invent methods of harnessing solar energy to generate thousands of megawatts of power and production techniques that will be less pollution-making. Indians are second to none.

Thursday, 8 June, 2017