The Congress on Thursday attacked the government in the Rajya Sabha on its handling of foreign policy issues, especially the military stand-off with China, and said national security and the country’s interest were in danger on account of it. Initiating a debate on foreign policy in the House, senior member Anand Sharma demanded a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on what was discussed during his meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the Doklam border stand-off. The Congress leader said the government should not dilute and deviate from the time-tested foreign policy and should uphold the country’s interest. Referring to Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with the Chinese President twice – on the sidelines of the SCO meet in Astana in Kazakhstan and G20 meeting in Germany’s Hamburg, Sharma said, “Modiji met with Xi Jinping twice, once in Astana and in Hamburg, and we have been told that both of them had meaningful discussions. “But why did China deny this? I trust my government, but what is their intent in denying?” he asked. He also said that Modi has not mentioned even once what talks he has had with the Chinese President.
“Even the National Security Advisors (NSAs) met; we are not asking them to divulge all the details of the meeting, but we should get a sense or idea if the stand-off can be resolved,” he said. “It is our right to know on matters of strategic and national interest. The Prime Minister cannot remain silent,” the Congress leader said. “When it comes to the issue of national interest and sovereignty we all are with the government,” he added. “But we want Foreign Minister Sushmaji (Swaraj) to give diplomacy a chance. We believe that all diplomatic channels should be kept open for negotiations and safeguarding India’s interest,” Sharma said. Sharma noted that the relationship with China is very “complex and uneasy”. “I hope the External Affairs Minister is fully aware of the confrontation with China in Doklam. Our security and national interest is at risk. China is acting unusually aggressive,” he said. He also highlighted that the Chinese President has spoken on the issue twice. “We want to know what is the government’s response on the Chinese statement,” he said.