India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh says there is a danger that the upbeat bilateral cooperation with China in the ‘Copenhagen spirit’ will not last long unless India changes a ‘needlessly restrictive, alarmist’ approach to Chinese investment in telecom and infrastructure.
On Friday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reportedly referred to his counterpart Manmohan Singh and the Copenhagen spirit thrice, during conversation with Ramesh, who is in Beijing for a climate change conference.
“Clearly, China sees Copenhagen as a defining moment in our bilateral relationship,’’ Ramesh told the media on Saturday after talks with Chinese climate change negotiator Xie Zhenhua to discuss cooperation in green technology and research.
Despite political tensions between both nations last year, India and China remained united in resisting pressure from developed nations over Copenhagen negotiations to reduce man-made emissions that contribute to global warming.
But there are ‘dark clouds’ we should be watchful of, said Ramesh, adding that the Copenhagen spirit could be ‘dissipated’ because of India’s strategic concerns over contracts to Chinese firms like telecom major Huawei which has its biggest base outside China in Bangalore. “The full dividend of the Copenhagen spirit can be realised if India is clear in mind how to approach the problem of Chinese investment,’’ said Ramesh. He specifically pointed out that Huawei creates jobs and assets in India, and that Chinese infrastructure companies are cost-effective and productive.
At a media briefing this week, foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu had downplayed the telecom controversy, saying that India-China trade has bright prospects and both governments should create a sound investment environment.