During a discussion on “India’s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners” in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the Opposition accused the government of having no stable foreign policy and asked it to spell out its road map in dealing with the border stand-off with China.
The Opposition parties said they stood by the government in the face of “unusually aggressive” position adopted by China but they also wanted know what the government intended to do about it.
“As we engage with our partner countries, please ensure that there is balance. We should ensure that we engage with all of them. But we should ensure that there is strategic balance,” said Congress leader Anand Sharma while initiating the discussion.
“What is your road map? There is no stability in your policy. It keeps changing. First you say we would talk and then stop talks,” Sharma alleged.
Sharma, a former Minister of State for External Affairs, said there should be no dilution or deviation from the country’s laid down foreign policy.
Referring to the border stand-off with China, he said China was being “unusually aggressive” and the “doors of diplomacy seem to be closing”.
“When it comes to country’s national interests, we stand as one and there is no division. It is clear…Diplomacy must be given a chance. We believe in making all possible diplomatic channels to de-escalate the situation on borders…De-escalation does not mean retreat. It is safeguarding India’s interest,” he said.
The Opposition parties also accused the government of spoiling relations with the neighbours and said that India should not be isolated in the process of isolating Pakistan.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sharma said he had “not uttered a word” on his talks with Chinese President Xi Jingping during their meetings in Astana (Kazakhstan) and Hamburg (Germany).
“It is his (PM’s) duty to tell us. He cannot remain silent on matters of India’s sensitive interests,” Sharma said.
Sharma also noted that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had visited China recently and wondered whether after that “a window has opened that this stand-off would be resolved.”
The Congress leader said it was a matter of concern that China and Turkey have offered to mediate between India and Pakistan.
“Unless we manage our neighbours correctly, it would be difficult or rather impossible to play a major role globally,” Sharma added.
(With inputs from PTI)