Jaishankar slams Rahul, says India's partnerships stronger, standing higher

·4-min read

New Delhi [India], July 17 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday slammed Rahul Gandhi over a video in which the Congress leader had targeted the foreign policy of Modi government, saying India's major partnerships were stronger and international standing higher and the BJP-led government was rectifying the "infrastructure imbalance legacy" on the border with China.

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Jaishankar gave a point-by-point answer to Gandhi's allegations concerning the foreign policy and India's neighbourhood in a series of tweets and even asked him to seek answers from himself over the terror attack in Mumbai and Balochistan finding mention in the joint statement issued at Sharm el-Sheikh when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister of Congress-led UPA government.

Gandhi had released his video in the morning in which he referred to Chinese build-up across LAC and said that "weakness" on economic front and some other factors had convinced China that this is the "best time to act".

"RahulGandhi hs questions on Foreign Policy. Here are some answers: Our major partn'ships are strongr & internat'l standng higher.Witness regular summits&informal meetngs wth US Russia Europe & Japan. India engages China on more equal terms politically. Ask the analysts," Jaishankar said.

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The minister said that India speaks its more openly now on various issues including the South China Sea.

"We speak our mind more openly now. On CPEC, on BRI, on South China Sea, on UN-sanctioned terrorists, etc. Ask the media," he said.

Jaishankar compared the allocations made to ramp up border infrastructure during the rule of Congress-led UPA and NDA governments.

"And address the border infrastructure imbalance legacy. Compare 2014-20 with 2008-14. Budget up by 280%, road building by 32%, bridges by 99% and tunnels by 6 times. Ask our Jawans."

With Gandhi mentioning Hambantota Port in his reference about Sri Lanka, Jaishankar mentioned that the agreement was concluded in 2008 when UPA was in power.

"And some facts on our neighbourhood: The Hambantota Port agreement between SriLanka and China was concluded in 2008. Ask those who dealt with it. Difficult ties with Maldives, after India watched President Nasheed being toppled in 2012, now stand transformed. Ask our businesses," he said.

Jaishankar also talked of the surgical and aerial strikes conducted during the NDA government on the terror targets in Pakistan. He mentioned about Balochistan finding a mention in the joint statement issued by Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani on fighting terrorism at Sharm el-Sheikh for which the then government faced a lot of criticism.

"And Pakistan (that you skipped) surely notes the difference between Balakot & Uri on the one hand, and Sharm-el-Sheikh, Havana & 26/11 on the other. Ask yourself," Jaishankar said.

Jaishankar referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal in 2104, which was the first by an Indian PM to the neighbouring country in 17 years.

"A settled land boundary (2015) with Bangladesh; opens path to more development and transit. And terrorists no longer find safe haven there. Ask our security. Nepal after 17 years is getting Prime Ministerial visits. And a swathe of developmental projects: power, fuel, housing, hospital, roads, etc. Ask their citizens," he said.

"Bhutan finds a stronger security and development partner. And unlike 2013, they don't worry about their cooking gas. Ask their households. Afghanistan sees completed projects (Salma Dam, Parliament), expanded training and serious connectivity. Ask the Afghan street," he added.

Earlier today, Gandhi targeted the central government over the India-China stand-off, stating since 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "constant blunders and indiscretions" have fundamentally weakened the country.

"What is it about India's situation that has made China act in such an aggressive way? What is it about this moment in time that allowed China to take such an aggressive stand against a country like India?" he asked.

Gandhi said "empty words don't suffice in the world of geopolitics". (ANI)

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