Ramesh's remarks irk China handlers

Ministers statement undiplomatic

Reacting to Ramesh’s ‘revelation’ that India saved China from being isolated in the climate conference in Copenhagen, a senior official said: “We (India and China) did coordinate our positions closely in Copenhagen. But the way it was spoken about (by the minister) was quite undiplomatic.”

Highly-placed sources said the government was also embarrassed by Ramesh’s remark criticising the approach of the security establishment towards Chinese companies seeking to do business in India.

“Now when Beijing will reiterate its allegation that India is discriminating against companies based in China, the complaint will get more weight and it will be a bit difficult for us to set the records straight,” said another official. 

Ramesh’s remarks came at a time when New Delhi was also seeking greater market access for Indian products in China.

Ramesh has been known for his controversial remarks. Some of his cabinet colleagues are up in arms against him alleging that he was holding up clearances to several projects.

Surface Transport Minister Kamal Nath is in the forefront of the attack against Ramesh as in more than one cabinet meeting, Nath brought up the issue of Ramesh’s ministry delaying road projects.

The remarks of Ramesh that home ministry was “paranoid and alarmist” in its approach towards China comes just a week after senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh expressed his regrets over his comments on home minister P Chidambaram.

Writing in a business daily, the AICC general secretary criticised the policies of the home ministry while writing about the massacre of 76 police and para-military forces by Moists and said “I have been a victim of his (Chidambaram’s) intellectual arrogance”. Congress took a dim view of his remarks and Singh was made to wait for an appointment with party chief Sonia Gandhi. Finally, he was forced to express regrets after which he was granted audience by Sonia. He was also forced to meet the home minister.

Ramesh’s remarks created a flutter when he criticised the home ministry. “The suspicious attitude of the security establishment of India is spoiling the bonhomie between the two Asian neighbours, created as a result of the close collaboration on international negotiations on climate change,” Ramesh had said. He also suggested that the home ministry needed to be “much more relaxed” in its approach to Chinese investments in India.

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