Let investments from China flow in, says Ramesh

Bats for removal of needless curbs

Let investments from China flow in, says Ramesh

Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh

Ramesh’s comments came, on Saturday, in the context of recent reports that India had barred import of telecom equipment from major Chinese firm Huawei, especially in the border areas following security concerns.

Suggesting that India should be more open and receptive to investments and technology from the neighbouring country, Ramesh said the spirit of cooperation evolved at the Copenhagen Climate summit between the prime ministers of the two Asian giants should be taken forward.

Ramesh said the “overly defensive and alarmist” approach in the security establishments in India which are raising telephone tapping concerns will not help in sustaining the Copenhagen spirit.

Relaxed approach

“Even in the power sector there have been controversies about Chinese participation. So unless we become much more relaxed in our approach to Chinese investments in India I am afraid the Copenhagen spirit may not last long,” he said talking to Indian correspondents.

“Huawei is creating assets in India, hiring Indian professionals. Over 80 per cent of its employees are Indians. Assets are being created in India,” Ramesh said. He said “Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) is totally gung ho about it. It is joint venture between Singh and (Chinese Prime Minister) Wen Jiabao. National Security Advisor (NSA) and Ministry of External Affairs, (MEA) are fully backing this. People who have the questions are Home Ministry and the security establishments”.

Ramesh further said, “China is implementing projects worth over US$30 billion but unfortunately the controversy over Huawei has overshadowed the whole issue of Chinese investments.”

Asked about the stand by the Defence Ministry, he said they are also quite suspicious. “India should get rid of the needless restrictions on Chinese investments. We are imagining demons where there are none and the  Copenhagen spirit will disappear itself.”

To a question on China’s strategic relationship with Pakistan specially in the aftermath of Beijing decision to build two more nuclear reactors there, he said in Chinese establishment there are people who “want to kick us around” but China wants to carry on with the engagement.

Referring to the benefits of the engagement, he said China recently gave details of Zangmu hydro power project being built on the Brhmaputra river.

China kept repeating earlier that they were not obliged to give details but gave it during the Foreign Minister level meeting recently, he said.

Arguing his case for opening India to China’s technology and investment he said India is asking Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to be open for Indian investment to enable them to reduce trade deficit.

“We have a huge trade deficit with China. But we are still suspicious  of Chinese investment in India,” he said.

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