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Jairam Ramesh overspeaks when in China, may have been influenced by hospitality over there – pulled up by the Prime Minister




When a Minister for any Government goes outside the country, there is a broad agreement that they do not go against the policies of the country (and this is also the convention even when a opposition leader goes outside the country). Thus if a Lal Krishna Advani or some Communist leader goes outside the country, they are not expected to attack any policy that is being implemented by the ruling Government of the country; this is in direct contradiction of their stand inside India where they can criticize the policies of the Government all day long. Combine this with another expectation that a Minister does not comment on the policies that are being followed by another Ministry, especially on sensitive matters controlled by the Home Ministry (and because of the critical nature of security policies, the assumption is also that the Prime Minister’s Office is involved and aware of the policies laid down by the Home Ministry). If there is any discussion to be done, this is normally done within the domain of the Government, or in party meetings (and of course you have exceptions sometimes, like when Digvijay Singh criticized Chidambaram’s handling of anti-naxal policies, and faced some tough criticism).
However, in something that the Congress party found hard to swallow, the environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, criticized many of the policies laid down by the Home Ministry in terms of clearances of Chinese companies in the critical infrastructure area of telecom, claiming that the Home Ministry was needlessly worried about this (link to article):

Ramesh on Saturday had said that the security establishment was putting “needless” restrictions on Chinese investments in India as “we are imagining demons where there are none”. His comments came in the context of recent reports that India had barred import of telecom equipment from major Chinese firm Huawei, especially in the border areas following security concerns.
The Congress party is also unhappy over Ramesh’s remarks, with a senior leader saying, “An adverse comment against the policy and functioning of a ministry as sensitive as home affairs, that, too in a foreign land, cannot be justified. If there are differences of opinion over an issue, these have to be resolved at party and government fora.”

The Government remains worried about the access sought by Chinese compaines such as Huawei into the telecom infrastructure area, especially since there are signs that the Chinese company is linked to the Chinese military and the worries that allowing the company to install telecom equipment will let them create back-doors that will let Chinese intelligence agencies spy on critical telecom activities and conversations in India.
As a result of the comments by Jairam, he was finally scolded by the Prime Minister for speaking out of turn; will this stop him the next time ? One never knows.




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