External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday took a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and said that he was taking classes on China from the Chinese ambassador.
Speaking on ‘Foreign Policy of the Modi Government,’ he said, “I would have offered to take classes on China from Rahul Gandhi but I discovered he was taking classes on China from the Chinese ambassador,” responding to the Congress leader’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s handling of relations with China.
Jaishankar referred to Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the Chinese ambassador to India during the Doklam crisis. He attacked the government, suggesting that new territory had been lost to China’s salami slicing.
“I know everything in politics is political. I accept that. But I think on certain issues, we have a collective responsibility to at least behave in a way that we do not weaken our (India’s) collective position abroad to do what we have seen in the last three years in China,” Jaishankar said, adding, “often very misleading narratives are put in.”
Jaishankar also hit out at misleading narratives and misrepresentations, adding, “We had, for example…a bridge which the Chinese were building on Pangong Tso. Now, the reality was that the particular area first Chinese came in 1959, and then they occupied it in 1962. But that’s not the way it was put across. This happened in the case of some of the so-called model villages as well, that they were built on areas which we lost in 62 or before 62. Now, I don’t believe you will very rarely hear me say 1962, that shouldn’t have happened, or you are wrong, or you are responsible. What has happened has happened. It’s our collective, I would say failure or responsibility. I do not necessarily attribute political colouring to it. I would like to see is actually a serious China conversation. I’m prepared to accept that there are different viewpoints on that, but if you reduce it to kind of slanging match, what can I say after that?”
This is not the first time that Jaishankar hit out at Rahul Gandhi for his comments relating to China. Earlier in March, Jaishankar had criticised Rahul Gandhi while speaking at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi.
“When Panda huggers try to be China hawks… it doesn’t fly,” the minister said, adding, “He [Rahul Gandhi] speaks admiringly about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He compares, very poetically, I must say, the BRI with the Yellow River in China gushing forward. The BRI goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. It violates our national integrity and sovereignty. He doesn’t have a word to say about it,” Jaishankar said at the Conclave.
Jaishankar also dealt with India-Iran relations and Chabahar port, he said, “Port in Iran very important for us…It has been difficult, Iran has been under sanctions, but we have made steady progress…”