Aap Ki Adalat: ‘Sometimes you disclose…,’ Jaishankar on Rahul Gandhi’s China BRI initiative remark

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Aap Ki Adalat
Image Source : INDIA TV External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Aap Ki Adalat

External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has lashed out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over the latter’s Chinese Belt and Road initiative remark during his recent visit to Brussels, saying “Sometimes you disclose your real position by mistake” and by doing this “your inner feeling gets exposed.”

In an exclusive conversation with India TV’s Editor-In-Chief and Chairman, Rajat Sharma in Aap Ki Adalat, EAM S Jaishankar responded to Rahul Gandhi’s recent visit to Brussels where he made remarks on the Chinese vision, including its ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.

“At a time, when we were having the biggest conference (G20) in our history, which should have been praised by all, he goes outside and criticises. Leave it to him. But what I would like to say is — sometimes you disclose your real position by mistake. Like the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative project. It passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). When you speak of the Belt and Road, you do not even speak two words to say that it is a violation of our territorial integrity. So you see, your inner feeling gets exposed,” EAM S Jaishankar said.

“In 2017, there was the stand-off going in Doklam on India-Bhutan-China border. At that time, he (Rahul) had a meeting with the Chinese ambassador in Delhi. We were surprised because our armed forces were in a stand-off against Chinese troops at that time. If he had wanted a briefing, he could have called us. I was Foreign Secretary at that time. I was not in politics. What was the necessity of taking a briefing from the Chinese ambassador?…” Jaishankar said.

During his recent visit to Brussels, Rahul Gandh during a presser said, “…It’s pretty clear that China is proposing a particular view and vision of the planet… they are putting on the table the idea of Belt and Road… and one of the reasons they are able to do this is because they have become a centre of global production… but I don’t see an alternative vision coming from our side… that requires a vision for production in a democratic manner… what Chinese basically has shown is to produce effectively in a cohesive environment… where you don’t give people freedom… you restrict it… but you give them prosperity without political freedom…. but the challenge for us is, can we provide and an alternative vision where we do production under democratic conditions with political and economic freedom.”

When Rajat Sharma asked Jaishankar what do you think, who feeds him about China, the EAM responded saying, “I don’t know, and I do not normally speak on matter which I don’t know.”

Speaking on Rahul Gandhi’s comments during his recent visit to Ladakh and Pangong Tso lake where he said that China has occupied several thousand sq km of our area there, EAM S Jaishankar said, “It’s a nice thing he visited Pangong Tso and saw the area from a distance. In 1959, the Chinese came and by 1962, they occupied the area. There is a famous place, Khurnak Fort (on the northern shore of Pangong Lake) which they occupied. We lost 38,000 sq km area to the Chinese in 1962.”

The Union Minister further said, “If they (Rahul Gandhi) are more worried about territory, we too are serious. But it is a fact that we lost 38,000 sq km of land to the Chinese in 1962. They should have worried at that time. When they visited Olympics in China, they should have discussed territory with them. I do not know whether they discussed territory or not.”

This was in oblique reference to the visit to 2008 Beijing Olympics by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

When Rajat Sharma asked Rahul Gandhi says he once talked to you (Jaishankar) about China but said he does not know much, the External Affairs Minister said, “What can I say? Maybe I could not explain to him properly, or there may be something lacking in the person trying to understand. It could be my fault. Maybe he is a knowledgeable, clever person.”

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