Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that it is his job to be informed on critical issues as he sought to defend his meeting with the Chinese Ambassador amid a border row with China.
Amid the standoff between India and China at the border tri-junction with Bhutan, Congress said party vice president Rahul Gandhi has met the ambassadors of the neighbouring countries.
It is my job to be informed on critical issues. I met the Chinese Ambassador, Ex-NSA, Congress leaders from NE & the Bhutanese Ambassador
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) July 10, 2017
Earlier in the day, the party downplayed the meeting and did not specify its venue or time.
Rahul criticised the BJP for questioning his meet amid ongoing stand-off and asked the government to explain why three of its ministers were in China.
“If Govt is so concerned abt me meeting an Ambassador, they should explain why 3 Ministers are availing Chinese hospitality while the border issue is on, ” asked Rahul Gandhi.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala termed it a “courtesy call” and said envoys of G5 as well as neighbouring countries keep meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the vice-president from time to time.
“Be it the Chinese ambassador (Luo Zhaohui) or Bhutanese ambassador (Vetsop Namgyel) or former national security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Rahul Gandhi met all three of them. Nobody should try to sensationalise such normal courtesy calls to term them an event like the sources of the Ministry of External Affairs are attempting to do,” he said.
Surjewala said Rahul and other opposition leaders are “fully aware of our national interests” and are concerned about the “grave situation” on the Indo-Chinese border as well as “the situation arising in Bhutan as also in Sikkim”.
Meanwhile BJP said that it has no in-principle objection if Rahul Gandhi meets any foreign diplomat but demanded the details of the issues of discussions.
“We have in-principle no objection if Rahul Gandhi meets any foreign diplomat. In larger national interest Rahul Gandhi should come out clean on this issue and tell what has gone into the discussion,” said V Chauthaiwale of BJP
China and India have been engaged in the standoff in the Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction for the past three weeks after a Chinese Army’s construction party attempted to build a road.
Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.