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UN Chief Meets PM Modi In Gujarat, Praises India for ‘Ambitious’ Steps in Climate Change

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed his appreciation for India’s ambitious initiatives in the area of climate action, particularly through the launch of Mission LiFE, as a global mass movement to achieve sustainable lifestyle change.”.

Prime Minister and the UNSG also discussed global and regional issues, including the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

The UNSG welcomed India’s upcoming Presidency of the G20 and underscored that the United Nations System would work together with India in facilitating transfer of technologies and finance for the benefit of developing countries.

Prime Minister thanked UNSG for commencing his visit to India by paying homage to victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, and his strong message on countering terrorism.

Guterres also said the people of Modhera, India’s first solar-powered village, are setting an example of “reconciliation between humankind and planet”.

While the village in Gujarat’s Mehsana district has a centuries-old Sun temple, a new kind of Sun temple has come up there now, he said. Guterres, on a three-day visit to India since Wednesday, visited the village, its 11th century Sun temple, and interacted with some of its 1,300-odd families who have set up solar electricity generation panels in their houses.

The residents of Modhera were “the soldiers of the first line” in the battle to save the earth, the UN chief said. “What is amazing and (for) what we must thank in a very emotional way these people of this village and also the government of Gujarat and government of India is that here is reconciliation between humankind and the planet,” he said.”Here where the temple of Sun was built a thousand of years ago, a new temple of Sun is based on solar energy,” Guterres said.

Guterres is on a three-day visit to India since Wednesday. (Image: News18)

Solar energy is transforming the lives of the local people, making them more healthy, giving them more prosperity and at the same time contributing to the “rescue of our planet from climate change that is still driving without control,” he said.The ancestors of these villagers recognised that the Sun was the source of all energy, the UN chief said. But a thousand years later, we live in a world where we use energy from coal, gas and oil, and the burning of coal makes the Sun “angry” which makes the planet warmer and causes floods, he said.

Guterres speaks during his visit to Sun Temple in Modhera. (Image: News18)

“When I was a boy, there used to be rain for a given number of months. Now in many parts of the world there is no longer rain, there is drought and then storms and floods…no normal rain,” said 73-year-old Guterres who was born in Portugal.Referring to a woman from the village who switched from coal to solar power, Guterres said she is “making peace with the Sun, and peace with nature.” India is moving ahead fast in solar power generation but “some people don’t like it, they are using huge amounts of money from oil and gas,” he said.

“But we need to go on doing what you did. One thousand years ago people recognised that the Sun was the origin of our energies, one thousand years later you are making the Sun again the origin of all energies,” he said.

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