Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday declined to comment on his controversial remarks in Beijing criticising the Indian government's policy towards Chinese companies.
“I want to make it clear that I am not going to comment on China. I am here to talk about greenhouse gas emission only,” Ramesh told reporters who tried to make him speak on the row that earned him a rebuke from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Cameramen and photojournalists surrounded the minister and furiously started clicking away as he entered the Ashoka Hotel banquet hall to release a report on Greenhouse Gas Emission 2007, prepared by the environment ministry.
When reporters continued to pester him, Ramesh snapped: “I am not going to say a single word.
“If you have come here to get a comment on China, then you can leave,” a visibly irritated Ramesh said.
The minister declared in Beijing Saturday that the policies of the Indian home ministry and security establishment towards Chinese companies were "alarmist and paranoid".
In Beijing to attend a global meet on climate change, he said there was danger that cooperation with China flowing from the Copenhagen spirit would end unless New Delhi changed "a needlessly restrictive, alarmist approach" to Chinese investment in infrastructure.
The remark stunned New Delhi. Manmohan Singh telephoned Ramesh and pulled him up, making it clear that he cannot comment on the functioning of ministries outside his domain, that too on foreign soil.
The Congress party also criticised him while the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded his sacking.