External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday reiterated India’s stand on the Paris Agreement for climate change, and reaffirmed the country’s commitment to working towards protecting the environment. She rejected United States President Donald Trump’s claim that India had benefited monetarily from signing the pact, but said relations between Delhi and Washington were progressing under the current regime as it did under the previous dispensation.
She made the statements while speaking to the media about key initiatives undertaken by her ministry during the three years of the Narendra Modi government, reported PTI.
“What Trump said is not the reality,” Swaraj said. “We have signed the Paris accord not under any pressure nor for any money...to say we did it for money, I totally reject that. India did not sign the Paris Agreement under duress or for monetary benefits.” Her statement came even as the US said that they do not need India to tell them how to protect their environment.
Listing out the National Democratic Alliance’s achievements, she said that 80,000 Indians stranded abroad were brought back to the country. “A 37.5% increase in FDI since NDA government took over three years ago,” she said. She made the statements while speaking to the media about key initiatives undertaken by her ministry during the three years of the Narendra Modi government, reported PTI.
Ties with China
Swaraj spoke about a host of other things including India’s ties with China and Pakistan. About China, Swaraj said her ministry will take up the recent airspace violation in Uttarakhand with China soon. Reports had suggested that Chinese choppers were seen hovering over the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand last week.
She also spoke about India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road project, in which Pakistan is a stakeholder. She defended India’s stand saying that the project involved the country’s sovereign interests. She also said that India wanted to resolve all differences with Pakistan, “but talks and terror do not go together.”
Relations between India and China have been volatile. Beijing had opposed India’s bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group because India is not a Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory. Swaraj said India would want supporting countries to speak to China about it. “India wants countries which back its bid for NSG membership to talk to China for Beijing’s support,” she said.
However, on the same day, China said India’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group had become “more complicated” under the “new circumstances”, though they did not explain what these complications and circumstances were.
“About the Nuclear Suppliers Group [NSG], it is a new issue under the new circumstances and it is more complicated than the previously imagined,” China’s assistant minister of foreign affairs Li Huilai said in Beijing on Monday.
The NSG is a 48-nation body, which monitors and controls the export of materials or technology that can be used to create nuclear weapons. Admission of new members to the NSG is done through consensus. India had formally applied for NSG membership in May 2016. Even though India has the backing of majority of the members, China has been blocking India’s membership. The country has been demanding a non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory countries.
On Indo-Pak relations
Speaking about India’s deteriorating ties with Pakistan, the minister said that the neighbouring country cannot take the Kashmir matter to the International Court of Justice. “It can only be solved bilaterally,” she said. “We are very clear, no third-party mediation in talks with Pakistan.”
She also said that there are no meeting Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Shariff scheduled in Asthana, during the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.