Traffic moves on a smoggy morning in New Delhi on Friday. Reuters
US President Donald Trump on Thursday described the air in India and China as "filthy" as he denounced Democratic rival Joe Biden's plans to tackle climate change.
At their second and final presidential debate, Trump renewed his criticism that action on climate change was unfair to the United States.
"Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia, look at India - it's filthy. The air is filthy," Trump said at the debate in Nashville.
On Friday, air pollution in New Delhi and surrounding cities was at its worst in eight months, with the air quality index surging above 300 on a scale of 500, indicating "emergency conditions."
Trump referred to India to defend his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, said one environmental expert.
"Trump's commentary on India's air in the backdrop of his justification from withdrawing from the Paris pact is unfortunate and juvenile," said Vimlendu Jha, the founder of an activist group, Swechha.
"America is historically the largest emitter in the world and currently the second largest one," he added.
Trump was correct, said Kapil Mishra, a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"Trump is right," Mishra said on Twitter.
"Our air quality is actually filthy. In Delhi, we are breathing poison. Time for all of us to come together and deal with the real reasons."
Modi's party is not in power in New Delhi, which is ruled by the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, officials of which have often sparred with BJP functionaries over blame for the poor quality of air in New Delhi.
China's foreign ministry on Friday said Beijing hoped the US would "stop dragging China into its election campaigns."
Defending the capital's air quality, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters "the sky outside is azure today."
In a 2017 interview Trump had complained that China, India, Russia and other countries were paying too little to help poorer countries battle climate change under the Paris accord's Green Climate Fund.
"It’s not a fair situation because they are paying virtually nothing and we are paying massive amounts of money," he said at the time.
Green groups expect that Biden, who is pushing a green-friendly $2 trillion infrastructure package at home, will roughly double US targets for slashing emissions responsible for climate change over the next decade.
The US president shocked Indian premier by telling him that India did not share a border with China and it set back ties between the two countries.
Trump talked up his own tough approach to Beijing, though he spent the early weeks of the pandemic praising Chinese President Xi Jinping. The mandatory sanctions are also required to be imposed on banks that conduct business with the officials.
Speaking at the opening of an annual arms show outside Moscow that caters to foreign customers, Putin said that Russia’s arms exports play an important role in the development of a "multipolar word.”
Albert Bourla said on Monday that he started taking Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill treatment and is isolating while he recovers.
The main opposition Labour party accused Johnson, who is due to leave office on Sept.6, of having "one big party" as many Britons struggle with a surging cost-of-living crisis.