Obama was very receptive: Sushma Swaraj

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NEW DELHI - Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj said Tuesday her meeting with US President Barack Obama was “very fruitful” as he was “very receptive and responsive” to the issues raised by her, including terrorism, India’s sensibilities about China, the Bhopal gas tragedy and outsourcing.

“Not only did he understand the issues but said (he will) try to address them as far as possible,” Swaraj told reporters here.

Swaraj, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, said she raised five issues with Obama, including occasional statements from senior US officials about Pakistan enjoying a special status and being a Major non-NATO ally.

The BJP leader said she told Obama that such remarks caused unease in India as every word originating from Washington was followed.

Swaraj said she told Obama that there were “loud whispers” that India was being seen as a market and Pakistan as an ally.

“You are an outstanding communicator, such a good orator. Please wash away this impression,” Swaraj told Obama.

The BJP leader said she urged Obama to understand India’s sensibilities vis-a-vis China and emphasised that India was a dependable and reliable friend. She said the US had cancelled joint exercises in Arunachal Pradesh and an India-US-Japan exercise apparently because Beijing would be unhappy.

She said Obama told her that the points she raised “had been registered in my mind” and his government “will keep these in consideration” and “will be careful”.

On the Bhopal gas tragedy, she conveyed to Obama that it was the world’s worst industrial disaster and “the compensation that people got was peanuts”.

She said the guilty should be brought to book and the US government should help the Indian government in the Bhopal case, which needs to be reopened. The environmental issues linked to the tragedy should also be addressed, she asserted.

Obama told her he would speak about the Bhopal gas tragedy issue at an appropriate forum and asked Swaraj to convey his sympathies to the affected people.

Swaraj said she urged Obama to take a positive decision about refunding social security payments to eligible people of Indian origin working in the US. The BJP leader said Obama told her that his government had taken a positive decision on the issue in the context of Mexico and told his officials to solve it in the context of India also.

On outsourcing, Swaraj said she told Obama that the US should factor in the goodwill of the people who were working in the industry as they would like its economy to grow so as to secure their own future.

She said it made sense from a business point of view also as US companies become competitive due to outsourcing.

Swaraj said Obama had invited her to visit the US.

“Generally, such meetings are one-sided. He was very responsive,” she said.

Filed under: Politics

Tags: ,
will not be displayed