‘It’s my job to be informed on critical issues’: Rahul Gandhi defends meeting Chinese ambassador
The Congress vice president questioned why three Union ministers had made a trip to the country amid the ongoing Sikkim standoff.
Soon after the Congress confirmed that Rahul Gandhi had met the Chinese ambassador to India, the party vice president on Monday took to Twitter to retort to questions raised about his July 8 meeting.
“It is my job to be informed on critical issues,” he tweeted. “If the government is so concerned about me meeting an ambassador, they should explain why three ministers are availing Chinese hospitality while the border issue is on.”
Gandhi also posted a 2014 picture showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying: “For the record, I am not the guy sitting on the swing while a thousand Chinese troops had physically entered India.”
His comments followed party spokesperson RS Surjewala’s confirmation that the Congress vice president had met the Chinese and Bhutanese ambassadors to India as well as former National Security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon.
The development came after the Chinese Embassy claimed on its website that Gandhi had met Ambassador Luo Zhaohui to “exchange views on the current bilateral relations”, but had deleted the post hours later, according to reports. The statement had read that Ambassador Luo had met Gandhi on July 8.
Moreover, party leader Manish Tewari took a jibe at those criticising Gandhi.
“Do those asking the Congress questions have the guts to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanging greetings with Xi Jinping after a public snub,” Tewari said on Twitter. “The exchange had followed Beijing’s announcement that no bilateral meeting would be scheduled between the two leaders as the ‘atmosphere’ was not ideal for talks.”
He also demanded that Modi share the details of his interaction with the Chinese premier and questioned the trip made by “India Foundation delegates to Beijing despite two members being refused visas”.
Before confirming the meeting on Monday, Surjewala had questioned why it would be wrong for Gandhi to meet Chinese representatives during the ongoing standoff between troops of the two countries in Sikkim’s Doklam area. He had referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit.
Later, however, the spokesperson said it was routine for the party vice president as well as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to meet various ambassadors and envoys. He told ANI that the news should not be sensationalised.
The Sikkim standoff
India and China have both maintained that troops from the other country had transgressed into their territory in the Sikkim sector’s Doklam area. Bilateral ties have been strained since the Indian Army stopped China from constructing a road in the region. New Delhi has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road up to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction through the Doklam plateau.
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim was also cancelled amid the continuing standoff.