Jairam’s Beijing remarks ‘not at all appropriate’: Congress


New Delhi : Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh’s remarks in China, critical of the home ministry, were “not at all appropriate” and should have under no circumstances been made on “foreign soil”, the Congress said Monday.

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“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.

According to Singhvi, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had already made it clear that ministers did not have the right to comment on the working of other ministries, particularly if they were on foreign soil.

Answering to a volley of questions on Ramesh’s remarks, Singhvi said the party did not approve of the content of his statement.

Singhvi’s denouncement of Ramesh’s remarks came within hours of the party’s stance that it would wait for the minister’s arrival to comment on the issue.

Ramesh, a Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh, created a flutter when he criticised the home ministry and the security establishment of India during a trip to Beijing, saying their policies towards China were “alarmist and paranoid”.

The minister, who was in Beijing to attend an international meet on climate change, said there was danger that the cooperation with China at the Copenhagen spirit would not last long unless India changes what he said was a needlessly restrictive, alarmist approach to Chinese investment in infrastructure.

The comments come soon after Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s critical comments on Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s anti-Maoist policy and the resignation of minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor’s following the IPL-Kochi controversy.