Sushma Swaraj slams Donald Trump's charge, says India did not sign Paris Climate Agreement for benefits

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that India signed the Paris Climate Agreement because of commitment and not for monetary benefits or under pressure.

Swaraj rejected US President Donald Trump's concern over India getting "billions of dollars" for meeting its commitment under the 2015 Paris Climate Accord (PCA). "What Trump said is not the reality. India has not signed PCA under duress or any other reason, but solely for the environment," she said.

Supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's take on protection of the environment, Swaraj said "This commitment is 5,000 years old. We worship rivers, trees and mountains. This is India's ethos, it is our cultural heritage. If someone says we signed the pact due to lure of money and pressure from someone, it is wrong. I reject both these allegations. Whether the US stays in the agreement or not, India will stay," she said.

Responding to a question on the current relationship of India and US, Swaraj said, "The relationship between India and US is progressing under Trump as it did during Obama's presidency. Modi has spoken to Trump on three occasions. There has also been talks between both the country's NSAs. I want to say that we are looking at it as relationship of mutual benefit."

The foreign affairs minister was addressing a press conference on the completion of three years of the NDA government.

Sushma Swaraj and Donald Trump. Agencies

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and US President Donald Trump. Agencies

Speaking on the Kashmir issue, Swaraj said that the Pakistan can never take Kashmir to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and that there can be no third party involvement in finding a solution to it.

"Kashmir issue can never be taken to ICJ because both the countries are bound by the Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration to solve it bilaterally. We will solve our issues bilaterally," she said, adding that India wanted to settled all issues involving Pakistan through dialogue.

Swaraj confirmed that no meeting has been fixed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Astana in late June.

"Three things people should keep in mind when we talk of Pakistan. There are three pillars. We want to sort out all issues with Pakistan through talks bilaterally and not through mediation of any group, country or associations. Talks and terror cannot go together. No flip-flip or one step forward-two steps backward," she said.

The foreign affairs minister also said the atmosphere was not conducive for talks with Pakistan as it has been vitiated by Islamabad. Sharif was invited to Modi's swearing in and later the Prime Minister also went to Lahore in December 2015 to meet the Pakistan Prime Minister.

Swaraj also spoke on Saturday's airspace violation by People's Liberation's Army's helicopters in Uttarakhand's Chamoli, and ensured that India would raise the issue with China, NDTV reported.

Providing clarification on the H1B visa, she said "In Modi's meeting with Trump scheduled later this month, this will be a topic for discussion. There has been no change, but we are alert that nothing affects India."

The Union minister took the opportunity to list the achievements of the government in the three years of its governance. "The security of NRIs is our responsibility. In the past three years, 80,000 Indians who were stranded abroad, have been brought back to India safely," Swaraj said.

Swaraj also thanked the prime minister for maintaining friendly relations with the Gulf states.

Asserting that the government has been making citizen-centric decisions, Swaraj said, "Under passport-making procedures, improvement and expansion has been made. The biggest achievement of our government is the simplification of passport rules. When we compared the post-change quarter to the previous quarter, we found a 50 percent increase in passport applications."

"Our government believes in effective diplomacy, efficient delivery. We have proven it," she added.

Swaraj claimed that the government had developed friendly relations with the West Asia, unlike what the western countries predicted. "When Modi went to Saudi Arabia, he was awarded the highest civil order by the country. Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mohammed was out guest of honour on 26 January ceremony. Both the nations are friendly with Pakistan," Swaraj said.

Citing other examples of India's relations with the West Asian countries, she said, "Modi is the first prime minister to visit both Palestine and Israel. President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas came to India, and now our prime minister is going there. Both the nations know we will not disappoint them." Swaraj also said that Abbas wants India to stay friends with Israel and help them work towards a solution.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jun 06, 2017 15:17 PM

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