The Congress on Wednesday criticised External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for his remarks that it was common sense for India not to pick a fight with China as it is the bigger economy.

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said that the statement was a “blasphemous” one and described Jaishankar as a failed foreign minister.

“People who are standing at the border and defending our territorial integrity do not need to be told that we are the smaller economy and they are the bigger economy and shouldn’t we pick up a fight with them,” Shrinate said. “This is one of the most blasphemous statements made by any foreign minister.”

The Congress leader questioned whether Jaishankar was suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome, a condition in which a hostage develops a bond of affection with his or her captor.

Jaishankar had made the remarks during an interview with news agency ANI on Monday. He was responding to a question on the situation along the Line of Actual Control with China.

“They are the bigger economy, what am I going to do?” the foreign minister asked. “I am a smaller economy. Am I going to sort of pick up a fight with a bigger economy? It is not a question of reacting. It is a question of common sense…It is in our interest to stabilise our borders or a situation.”

He had also responded to accusations by Opposition parties in connection with Chinese constructions at the Pangong Lake region in Ladakh, and said the area had been under Beijing’s illegal occupation since the 1962 Indo-China war.

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.

In May, reports had emerged that China was building a second bridge, parallel to the one built in January around Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh. The bridge could potentially help the People’s Liberation Army to quickly mobilise its troops in the region.

On Wednesday, Shrinate criticised Jaishankar for targeting the previous Congress governments over their policy on China.

“You can keep attacking your political opponents but do not do this at the cost of our national security,” she said. “… some things are sacrosanct.”

The Congress spokesperson also questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on China.

“Why have we increased the trade deficit [with China] to a hundred billion dollars,” the Congress spokesperson asked. “We are almost funding the Chinese Army to do the incursions that they do.”