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France hails Modi’s renewable energy plan, seeks India’s support at UN climate talks

According to reports, visiting French foreign minister Laurent Fabius today hailed prime minister Narendra Modi’s “bold plan” for a “saffron revolution” aimed at making India a solar energy hub and offered his country’s cooperation in the renewable energy sector and a  €1-billion ($1.4 billion) line of credit to finance sustainable infrastructure and urban development projects .

“France warmly welcomes Prime Minister Modi’s announcement of what he calls a saffron revolution to provide solar power to 400 million Indians,” Fabius said after talks with Modi.

Fabius, who is in India on a four-day visit, said “this bold plan” embodies the solutions that France is promoting in the run up to the crucial UN Climate Conference at the end of next year in Paris.

Fabius, who is leading a six-member French delegation, also met minister of state for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, wanted India to act as a bridge between developed and developing countries in the series of discussions on the 2015 agreement

“France welcomes the new government’s commitment to putting sustainability at the core of its planning process to bring down pollution and meet the challenges posed by climate destruction,” said the French foreign minister, adding that his visit to India was to “deepen our dialogue regarding the climate change” debate.

Modi who took over as prime minister over a month back, had stressed the need to promote renewable energy in the country.

“Saffron colour represents energy – and we need a saffron revolution that focuses on renewable energy sources such as solar energy to meet India’s growing energy demand,” Modi had said at a function last month.

Fabius praised Modi’s commitment to cleaning the Ganga and other rivers and offered France’s cooperation in the endeavour through the Indo-French water network which was established last year.

Fabius identified at least five areas of “possible complete cooperation” between India and his country in the green sector, including carbon-free energy with a stress on new technology, civilian nuclear energy, water and urban development.

France is ready to share the knowhow to make existing or upcoming cities cleaner and more energy efficient, Fabius said.

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