Obama called Manmohan `Mr Guru` at Copenhagen

"Mr Guru" was how US President Barack Obama greeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the Copenhagen Climate Summit, which showed the degree of respect he has for the Indian leader, Jairam Ramesh said today.

Updated: May 09, 2010, 18:16 PM IST

Beijing: "Mr Guru" was how US President
Barack Obama greeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the
Copenhagen Climate Summit, which showed the degree of respect
he has for the Indian leader, Environment Minister Jairam
Ramesh said today.

"President Obama has certainly got the right instincts
on India. I know for fact, when Obama was in negotiating room,
three times he mentioned word Guru when he referred to our PM.
Your Prime Minister is our Guru," Ramesh, who is here on a
visit, told an interactive session with the members of Foreign
Correspondent Club.

At the end of the negotiations the US had with BASIC
countries -- Brazil, South Africa, China and India -- the
first person Obama went to was Singh and said: "Mr Guru what
will we do?"

The BASIC countries hammered out the Copenhagen
Accord, which has now been recognised by over 100 countries.

At the same time, Ramesh said no "US President can
match the warmth President Bush showered on India."

"President (George) Bush was bad for the world but
great for India. He was outstanding for India. There is no
question. With Bush yard stick any US President will fall
short," he said.

Compared to high degree of warmth Bush showered on
India, "it may appear we are not having the same degree of
prominence in Republican administration which considered India
as a bulwark against China."

"I do not think one should worry about Obama`s
strategy in Afghanistan. I do not think it is anti-India in a
sense of the term if it means for him to build close
relationship with Pakistan that is American policy objective."

India`s concern is that military equipment should not
be used against it, he said.

"By and large we recognise the compulsion under which
he (Obama) is operating. He is suffering (in India) because of
his predecessor where as Obama is glowing in all other areas
because Bush had set extraordinarily high degree for warmth in
India," Ramesh said.

The Minister also said the cooperation between India
and China on climate change issues have created suspicion in
the minds of Americans.

"Americans are uncomfortable with the bonhomie between
China and India. My American interlocutors often asked why I
am making common cause with Chinese.

My answer to them is India has to deal with both
developed as well as developing countries. "We (India and
China) have common issues which requires resolution," he said.
Ramesh also criticised US approach towards climate
negotiations.

The US` "moral and political authority is completely
eroded. They have not been able to get the climate bill though
the senate. There is no prospect of US coming out with a
legislation. They are not also not making great emission
cuts," he said.

Ramesh said no agreement was likely at Cancun climate
talks. "We may have to wait till Cape Town conference" to
achieve anything tangible, he said.

PTI