India's developmental needs are paramount but wildlife and biodiversity are equally imperative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday. In his message to the nation to mark the celebration of the ongoing Wildlife Week, the prime minister said India's commitment to wildlife protection and conservation is strong.
"Wildlife conservation is ingrained in our ethos and has always been an integral part of our tradition and culture. Our holy Constitution also enshrines this philosophy by including conservation of forest and wildlife as one of the fundamental duties of every Indian. "India harbours 17 per cent of world population within 2.4 per cent land area of the world. Developmental needs of the country are paramount. However, we believe wildlife and biodiversity conservation are equally imperative," Modi said in a written message.
He said that with a robust and wide network of protected areas, the country's commitment to words wildlife protection is as strong as ever. "Eco-sensitive zones provide a peripheral support and act as a buffer around national parks and sanctuaries. Taking great strides in this direction, several such zones have been notified to enhance the space availability for thriving wildlife," Modi said. He said India remains a natural home to a variety of migratory species and for this reason, Gandhinagar declaration, which was adopted during the 13th Conference of Parties to Convention on Migratory Species in February this year, prioritised the integration of the concept of ecological connectivity into the 'Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework'.
"We are emphasising on the conservation of migratory birds and marine species," he said. Prime Minister Modi also took pride in India being home to wild Asiatic lions and tigers, saying the result of the concerted efforts of the nation in conserving wildlife are showing.
"Our country hosts the last wild population of Asiatic lions. It also possesses the distinction of having the highest number of tigers in the world. The result of the concerted efforts of the nation towards conserving our wildlife are showing. The resolve of doubling tiger numbers has been fulfilled. We have achieved this target well in advance. "Encouraged by the success stories of Project Tiger and Project Elephant, we are now making efforts to conserve other endangered species through Project Lion and Project Dolphin. Contribution from people from all walks of life will help attain the desired goals of these projects," he said.
He also said that India gives a special attention to plastic waste management. "We are resolute in our efforts to reduce single use plastic and micro plastic pollution for sustainable development along with a prospering biodiversity," he said.
Lastly, he said that "coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace and nonviolence, the celebration of 'Wildlife Week' is an ideal location to reaffirm our commitment towards conservation of wildlife and harmonious coexistence of all living beings". Wildlife Week is organised from October 2-8 every year.