Top Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh interacted with ambassadors of G20 member-countries at a luncheon meet here on Wednesday, where the party leadership shared its economic and political vision ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
The Pakistan Ambassador was not invited to the meet which was attended by the ambassadors of the United States and China, the UK High Commissioner among others, Congress leaders said.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi met the ambassadors of G20 countries in India, besides those of neighbouring countries, and discussed with them issues of regional, global, strategic and economic importance, they said.
The meet, held at a local hotel, was earlier slated for February 15 and had been cancelled in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14.
Rahul Gandhi later said he enjoyed the exchange of ideas and looked forward to continuing the dialogue with the envoys.
“Today I met with diplomats of the G-20 nations & some neighbouring countries. We discussed a wide range of issues & are united in our fight against the scourge of terrorism. I enjoyed the exchange of perspectives & ideas & look forward to continuing our dialogue,” he said on Twitter while sharing some pictures of the luncheon meeting.
Senior Congress leader and former minister Anand Sharma, who heads the Congress’ foreign affairs department and was the host, said there were requests from heads of various missions for a meeting with the Congress leadership and this was the best-structured way to engage.
“It was a meaningful engagement and a good meeting where global, regional, political and economic matters were discussed,” Sharma said after the meeting.
Party president Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders held discussions with the ambassadors on the current geopolitical situation, he said.
Pakistan was not invited for the lunch in view of the current Indo-Pak tension, the sources said.
The Congress president also shared his party’s vision, including its economic and industrial policies, for revival of agriculture sector and jobs creation, ahead of general elections, Sharma said.
Gandhi is learnt to have first interacted with the ambassadors jointly for half an hour and then sat down at each table and shared his thoughts with them separately. The meeting lasted for almost three hours.
The Congress chief also made it clear to the diplomats that the party is committed and united in carrying forward the fight against terrorism.
Among the neighbouring countries whose diplomats were present at the luncheon meeting were Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The ambassadors of the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey attended the meet.
Ghulam Nabi Azad and some other leaders were also present besides former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, former Indian ambassador to the US and Germany Meera Shankar, former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal and former High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty.
The ambassadors of Brunei, Dominican Republic and Romania, who head regional groups of ASEAN, GRULAC and Europe, also attended the meet.