Asserting that there is no change in India-US relationship despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate deal, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that the relationship between the two countries is progressing as it did during Barack Obama’s presidency. Swaraj however, admitted that the new H-1B visa rule is a matter of concern for India.
Sushma Swaraj also dismissed the allegations of Trump that India signed the Paris pact to get “billions and billions and billions” of dollars from developed nations. “This is completely not true,” said the minister adding “India signed the Paris agreement not because of any pressure on out of greed. We are committed to the environment and this commitment is 5,000 years old. We worship nature. It is in Indian ethos. I clearly dismiss both accusations.”
Addressing the annual press conference of her ministry to highlight the achievements of the Modi government in last three years, Swaraj said, “80,000 people stranded abroad brought back to India in last three years.” She added that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has registered an increase of 37.5 per cent since NDA government took over three years ago.
The minister added that several measures and improvements have been introduced in the passport facility. Swaraj said, “CPEC is about sovereignty. Kashmir is integral part of India, no question of compromise.”
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 5, 2017
She said that India will not be impacted by some Gulf countries cutting off diplomatic ties with Qatar. “There is no challenge arising out of this for us. This is an internal matter of GCC (Gulf Coordination Council). Our only concern is about Indians there. We are trying to find out if any Indians are stuck there,” she told reporters.
Rejecting suggestions that the government had a “flip-flop” policy in handling Pakistan, she said India is very clear that “it wants to hold dialogue, resolve all issues bilaterally without mediation from any third country, organisation or anyone else. But at the same time terror and talks cannot go together.” The minister also emphasised that the government was asking other countries not to see cross-border issue or terrorism emanating from Pakistan from the prism of India but see if the international terrorism was in anyway linked with that country. “Finally, where was Osama bin Laden found? In Pakistan,” she said, adding it was time to finalise the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN and define terrorism.
On Pakistan’s remark of taking Kashmir issue to ICJ: “Pakistan cannot take Kashmir issue to ICJ. The Shimla agreement and Lahore declaration are very clear on Kashmir issue that it can only be resolved bilaterally. The two countries are bound by these bilateral agreements”
On the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership: “We are talking to China on the issue”
On talks with Pakistan: “India is very clear that it wants to hold dialogue, resolve all issues bilaterally without mediation from any third country, organisation or anyone else. But at the same time terror and talks cannot go together.”
On Modi-Sharif meeting at Astana SCO Summit: “Nothing is fixed from both sides”
On Kashmir: “CPEC is about sovereignty. Kashmir is integral part of India, no question of compromise”
On H-1B visa: “Yes concern is there but there are amendments that can’t be made through executive order”
On Gulf diplomatic rift: “This will have no effect on our relation and agreement with Qatar”
On signing the Paris Agreement: “India did not sign the Paris Agreement under duress or for monetary benefits”
On OBOR project: “We opposed China’s OBOR project as it involves India’s sovereignty”
On Chinese choppers over Chamoli district, Uttarakhand: “India to raise airspace violation issue with China”