China has chosen to violate the Line of Actual Control and make incursions into the Indian territory now because the Indian economy and New Delhi’s foreign policy and its ties with its neighbours are troubled at this point of time, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday, drawing a sharp counterattack from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Jaishankar countered Rahul point by point and said India’s major partnerships are stronger and international standing is higher now.
There are regular summits and informal meetings with the US, Russia, Europe and Japan, Jaishankar stated. “India engages with China on more equal terms politically. Ask the analysts,” he tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Rahul said the Prime Minister’s “constant blunders and indiscretions” have fundamentally weakened India and left the country vulnerable. He argued that “empty words don’t suffice in the world of geopolitics.”
“Today you have a country which is economically in trouble; in trouble as far as foreign policy is concerned; in trouble with its neighbours and that’s why the Chinese have decided that this is possibly the best time to act and that is why they have acted,” Rahul said in a video message, which his office said is the first in a series of videos to help “demystify” complex issues for the public.
Rahul said: “Why have the Chinese chosen to violate LAC with India at this point in time?…. What is it about this moment in time that has allowed the Chinese to have the confidence they can move against a country like India?…. Countries are protected not by one particular thing but by a confluence of forces, by a confluence of systems…by its foreign relationships, its neighbourhood, its economy; by the feeling that its people have….over the last six years in all those areas India has been disturbed and disrupted.”
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He said India’s relationship with the US and Europe have become transactional in the last six years, and New Delhi has disrupted its ties with Moscow. He said these countries “used to help us manoeuvre in the world”, but India’s neighbours too are now angry with the country.
Hitting bacl through a series of tweets, Jaishankar said, “We speak our mind more openly now. On CPEC, on BRI, on South China Sea, on UN-sanctioned terrorists, etc. (We) 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…”
On Rahul’s remarks on the neighbourhood, he said the Hambantota Port agreement between Sri Lanka and China was concluded in 2008. “Ask those who dealt with it,” he said, signalling that the UPA was in power then.
He said the “difficult ties with Maldives, after India watched President (Mohamed) Nasheed being toppled in 2012, now stand transformed.”
“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…. Bhutan finds a stronger security and development partner. And unlike 2013, they don’t worry about their cooking gas. Afghanistan sees completed projects (Salma Dam, Parliament), expanded training and serious connectivity. Ask the Afghan street,” he said.