Sushma Swaraj's Take To Solve Doklam Standoff, With Jibe At Rahul Gandhi

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha that diplomacy and patience was needed to resolve the Doklam standoff with China, not war mongering.

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Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also responds to debate on foreign policy in the Rajya Sabha.


NEW DELHI: 

Highlights

  1. Ms Swaraj pitched for patience and restraint in handling Dokalam standoff
  2. Why did Mr Gandhi not come to us but went to China envoy: Sushma Swaraj
  3. She was speaking at the end of a five-hour-long debate on foreign policy
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday pitched for patience and restraint in handling the Dokalam standoff with China diplomatically, telling parliament that war did not resolve problems and were followed by a round of dialogue.

"War is not a solution to anything. Even after war, there has to be a dialogue. So, have dialogue without a war... Patience, control on comments and diplomacy can resolve problems," the minister said, responding to a demand that India's army should be ready for a face-off. The military was always ready but that wasn't the solution.

But as she got down to answering questions raised by an aggressive opposition during a discussion on foreign policy in the Rajya Sabha, she also also took a swipe at the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi with a question of her own.

She asked why the Congress leader had gone to the Chinese envoy last month rather than coming to the Indian government. "I am very sad that leader of the largest opposition party deemed it proper to meet the Chinese envoy to get information about the standoff rather than approach the Indian leadership," Ms Swaraj said, referring to Mr Gandhi's meeting with the Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui last month.

The Congress had initially denied the meeting but as the controversy acquired scale, Mr Gandhi tweeted that it was his job to be informed on critical issues.

Ms Swaraj said she wouldn't have spoken on this meeting but for a provocation from the Congress' Anand Sharma, who had reminded her about Atal Behari Vajpayee asking Jawaharlal Nehru to convene parliament's session to discuss the 1962 war and India's first Prime Minister had responded positively.

The foreign minister hit back, saying she would have been happy if the opposition had made the same request. But instead, the leading opposition party's leader had gone to the Chinese envoy.

She also lashed out the Congress' for Rajiv Shukla's questioning the government's decision to boycott the international conference called by China over 'One Belt, One Road'.

"Do you know through where the OBOR passes?... You are the main Opposition party. You should speak with responsibility," she said, pointing that 400 km of the project passed through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. A red-faced Congress promptly disowned the statement, saying it was Mr Shukla's personal view.

But as the minister heaped praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for shaping the global agenda, Ms Swaraj said he had earned respect for the country unlike Jawaharlal Nehru who only enhanced his personal image.

In her detailed response, Ms Swaraj also responded to opposition demands that the government come out with its roadmap on Pakistan. "Talks and terror cannot go together. This is our roadmap," she asserted.

The foreign minister's response came at the end of a five-hour-long debate on foreign policy. The minister had made it clear right at the beginning that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not respond to the debate as demanded by the opposition.

But PM Modi nevertheless remained the prime target of many opposition leaders including Congress' Anand Sharma.

The Congress leader had complained that PM Modi had never briefed parliament on his foreign visits though he had visited 65 countries in the last three years, some of them such as the United States as many as five times.


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