Already estranged from his cabinet colleagues for his 'anti-development' stance on Bt brinjal, mining licences, and other ecological issues, union environment minister Jairam Ramesh may have seriously put his foot in his mouth this time when, on a visit to China, he attacked the home ministry for having an ''alarmist and paranoid'' attitude towards China. He also included the defence and telecommunications ministries in his attack.
In Beijing on Saturday to attend an international conference on climate change,, Jairam said while the prime minister's office (PMO) was positive in maintaining the spirit of cooperation with China built up during the Copenhagen climate summit, the home ministry and defence ministry were putting a cloud over it with their suspicious attitude.
He said, "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."
He also hinted that India had saved China during the Copenhagen summit. Without Indian support, China would have been isolated and the US would have taken the opportunity to paint it as the culprit, Ramesh claimed.
Ramesh's comments came in the backdrop of reports that India has barred the import of telecom equipment from Chinese firm Huawei for installation in border areas because of security concerns. The environment minister said the government needed to adopt a more relaxed approach and get rid of ''needless restrictions'' on Chinese investments.
''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 during a conversation with Indian journalists. ''Huawei is creating assets in India, hiring Indian professionals. Over 80 per cent of its employees are Indians.''