India rejects Trump’s allegations on Paris pact

Sushma Swaraj.

Sushma Swaraj.  

Did not sign agreement due to financial greed: Sushma

India on Monday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s allegation that it had joined the Paris climate agreement for a large financial incentive. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj described the allegation as “unreal” and said India did not join the agreement for “financial greed.”

“First of all, there is no reality [in Mr. Trump’s allegation]. The Prime Minister has spoken about this issue and let me also emphasise that India has signed into the Paris agreement not because of pressure from any country nor for financial greed or fear of any country. We signed the agreement for our commitment to protection of climate,” Ms. Swaraj said, explaining in Hindi the reasons for India joining the agreement.

“Worship of forests, worship of rivers, worship of mountains continue even now in India. These actions are part of India’s ethos that are five thousand years old. These are all heritage of India. That is why I am rejecting the allegations completely and that is why India will continue to remain in the Paris agreement framework, whether the U.S. continues in it or not,” she said.

Focus on visas

Ms. Swaraj also flagged growing focus on H1B visas in the U.S. as an Indian concern, and said the government was alert to the risks on this front.

“Since 2004 a cap has been in place for 65,000 visas. There are no changes in the lottery process and in visas for our Ph. D students; but, yes, we have concerns. I want to assure the country that we are in touch with U.S. Congress members and the Trump administration so that no amendments are brought to the law so that Indian interests are not hurt.”

She, however, downplayed the chances of growing disagreement between India and the U.S. affecting the bilateral ties after Mr. Trump became President. “After the arrival of the Trump administration, India-U.S. ties have not diminished. Thrice Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Trump spoke on the phone. I spoke with my counterpart Rex Tillerson. Our Foreign Secretary met their officials. These meetings indicate that the Trump administration is trying to build the relationship between India and the U.S. as a relation of mutual benefit.

No Modi-Sharif meeting

The External Affairs Minister, who addressed the media to mark the third anniversary of the Modi government, said that as of now, there were no plans of a meeting between Mr. Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO summit scheduled in Astana for June 8 and 9.

“As of now, there are no plans for any meeting... Neither from their side, nor from ours,” Ms. Swaraj said, stressing that India was willing to resolve all issues through dialogue with Pakistan.

“We are willing for talks on all issues. Second, talks should be held between two parties. Third, terror and talks will not go ahead together — these are our three pillars,” she said.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:52:16 AM |

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