PM wants Ramesh to continue as env minister | delhi | Hindustan Times
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PM wants Ramesh to continue as env minister

delhi Updated: May 13, 2010 19:53 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has turned down Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's offer to step down because of the latter's remarks on Chinese imports, and asked him not to speak out against other ministries.

"Yes, the minister (Ramesh) had clarified his position to the PM (prime minister). He had also offered to quit. But the offer has been turned down for the moment," a senior official in Prime Minister's Office said.

Truce was apparently reached after Ramesh called on Home Minister P. Chidambaram at his North Block office on Wednesday and sought to clarify that his statements in Beijing last week were needlessly blown out of proportion.

Attending a global meet on climate change in Beijing, Ramesh had said that the Indian security establishment's policies toward Chinese companies were "alarmist" -- a comment that prompted Chidambaram to write a stern note to the prime minister.

Ramesh had also said that there was danger that cooperation with Beijing flowing from the Copenhagen spirit would end if New Delhi adopted "a needlessly restrictive, alarmist approach" towards Chinese investment in India's infrastructure.

The home ministry had expressed reservations about allowing the import and installation of equipment from Chinese telecom giant Huawei and other companies on the grounds that they could pose a security challenge in the highly sensitive telecom sector.

At the same time, the home ministry had also said its policies were company-specific and not country-specific.

The prime minister, after going through Chidambaram's letter on the matter, telephoned Ramesh and made it clear that a member of his ministerial council cannot comment on the functioning of other ministries, that too on foreign soil, officials said.