External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar slammed Rahul Gandhi on Saturday for his comments about China during his recent visit to the UK, saying he is troubled to see the Congress leader “drooling over” China while dismissing India.
Jaishankar’s remarks at the India Today conclave came just days after Gandhi chastised the external affairs minister and the government for their approach to dealing with China’s challenges. The minister said, referring to comments made at the conclave by US-based author Michael Pillsbury, that “when Panda huggers tried to be China hawks, it did not fly.”
Pillsbury made reference to some “Panda huggers” in the United States in his remarks.
“I, like many others, followed some of what Rahul Gandhi said while in the UK. Obviously, a lot of it is political. I’m putting that aside. When it comes to politics, there is a price cut,” the minister said in response to a question.
“As an Indian, I am troubled when I see someone drooling over China while dismissing India. And I’d give you examples. In that Cambridge talk, he gives his suo motu description of China,” Jaishankar asserted.
Jaishankar On Gandhi’s Remarks About China’s Manufacturing Capabilities:
“When he talks about China, you know what word comes to mind: harmony. His one-word description of China is harmony; his one-word summary of India is discord:” Jaishankar added.
In response to a question, the external affairs minister cited Gandhi’s remarks about China’s manufacturing capabilities.
“He extols China as the world’s greatest manufacturer, claiming that no one else can… And, yes, China has done a fantastic job, as has no one else. But when it comes to manufacturing in India, he slams it in every way possible,” he said.
“He claims that ‘Make in India’ will not work. I mean, when you created Covaxin, the Congress party claimed that it did not work. You can conduct objective assessments of other countries’ progress. Nothing is wrong with that. But, in this case, to speak of a competitive relationship…, “said the minister.
Gandhi was also accused by Jaishankar of undermining India’s national morale.
“You are telling me I am scared; I ask why someone is undermining national morale in this manner. It is not just the economy, let’s even look at security. He speaks admiringly of the Belt and Road Initiative while discussing connectivity,” the EAM said.
“He compares the Belt and Road Initiative to the Yellow River gushing forth in China… Guys, the Belt and Road pass through Pakistan (Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir). It is an affront to our national integrity and sovereignty. He doesn’t have anything to say about it,” Jaishankar said.
EAM On Gandhi’s Recent Remarks At Cambridge University:
Gandhi’s recent remarks at Cambridge University that Indian democracy is under attack and that several politicians, including himself, are being watched drew sharp criticism from the BJP, which accused him of slandering the country’s image on foreign soil after suffering consecutive electoral setbacks.
“Everyone is aware, and it is frequently reported in the media, that Indian democracy is under pressure and under attack… The institutional framework required for a democracy, including Parliament, a free press, the judiciary, and even the concept of mobilisation, is becoming increasingly constrained. We are witnessing an assault on the fundamental structure of Indian democracy,” Gandhi stated.
While speaking on the “two divergent perspectives” of the United States and China since World War II, the Congress leader stated that, in addition to losing manufacturing jobs, the United States had become less open following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, he claims that China “idolises harmony” through organisation centered on the Chinese Communist Party.
During his interaction with the Indian diaspora organised by the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) UK chapter, Gandhi slammed Jaishankar for comments he made about China during an interview.
“If you notice the Foreign Minister’s statement, he said China is far more powerful than us. How can I pick a fight with China if I believe they are more powerful than us? Cowardice is at the heart of the ideology,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi expressed regret that democratic parts of the world, including the United States and Europe, have failed to notice that a “large chunk of democracy has come undone” at an India Insights event organised by the Indian Journalists’ Association (IJA).
(With Inputs From PTI)