Jairam faces music from PM, Sonia over China comment

PM Singh and the Congress joined the Opposition to rebuke Jairam Ramesh for criticising India`s policy towards China.

Updated: May 10, 2010, 20:51 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress party Monday joined the opposition to rebuke Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh for criticising India`s policy towards Chinese companies over the weekend in Beijing.

Apparently sensing trouble, Ramesh tried to clarify his
statement in a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and
the Prime Minister soon after his return this morning from
Beijing where he made the comments but it failed to cut ice.
Home Minister P Chidambaram had already written a
strongly-worded letter to Singh, expressing unhappiness over
the Cabinet colleague`s remarks that his ministry had
"alarmist" approach towards Chinese investments and was
putting "needless" restrictions on these.

After receiving letters from Chidambaram and Ramesh,
Singh spoke to Ramesh and told him that he should not have
commented on functioning of other ministries.

Singh told Ramesh that it was "advisable for Cabinet
colleagues not to make comments on the functioning of other
ministries, especially with regard to relationship with
important neighbours like China," PMO sources said.

"There is no confusion in our policies towards China and
we continue to strive for constructive engagement with
Beijing," Singh told Ramesh.

Congress President also is reported to not have taken kindly to Ramesh’s utterances. The party officially disapproved of his comments today.

"Congress wants to make it clear that commenting on departments that are not in a minister`s domain is not at all appropriate. It should not be done under any circumstances on foreign soil," party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters here.

He said there were fora within the government and party for individual leaders to air their views.

A chastened Ramesh refused to talk to journalists after returning to New Delhi.

Ramesh, while talking in Beijing about the India-China
warmth developed during the Copenhagen Summit on Climate
Change, had suggested that the Home Ministry needed to be
"much more relaxed" in its approach to Chinese investments in

He had said that the security establishment was putting
"needless" restrictions on Chinese investments in India as "we
are imagining demons where there are none".

The Home Ministry also snubbed Ramesh, saying, "It is
wrong to say that the security establishment was biased
against the Chinese companies.

"Chinese companies are already present in India in a big
way. They are working in a variety of sectors, including in
telecommunications sector. I don`t think there is any
discrimination happening from the government`s side," Home
Secretary G K Pillai said.

He said the government takes decision on foreign
investments on a case-to-case basis.

"So far as national security was concern, our interests,
our policy is to ensure that the national security is
protected and in every case, irrespective of the foreign
country involved," Pillai said.

Ramesh`s remarks have come soon after Congress leader Digvijay Singh embarassed the government and the party by criticising Home Minister P. Chidambaram`s anti-Maoist policy.

Ramesh has also had differences with Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath over environmental clearances to road projects.

-Agencies inputs