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It’s my job to be informed on key issues: Rahul on meeting China envoy amid Sikkim row

The Congress vice president clarified the issue after party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala first denied and later accepted that Gandhi met the Chinese ambassador.

india Updated: Jul 11, 2017 09:19 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,India-China,India-China Standoff
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi confirmed his meeting with Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui.(PTI File Photo)

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said on Monday he met Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui as he took to Twitter to clear the confusion created by his party colleagues over the interaction.

“It is my job to be informed on critical issues. I met the Chinese Ambassador, Ex-NSA, Congress leaders from NE & the Bhutanese Ambassador,” he tweeted.

The confusion caused embarrassment to the party as its chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala denied in the morning any such meeting. But he accepted by afternoon that Gandhi met Luo on Saturday.

Surjewala was responding to a television news report that said the two discussed bilateral relations in the context of the ongoing military stand-off between the two Asian giants near the Sikkim border.

For his part, Gandhi tweeted: “If Govt is so concerned abt me meeting an Amb, they shld explain why 3Ministers are availing Chinese hospitality while the border issue is on.”

He posted a link to a news article on Union minister Prakash Javadekar’s visit to Beijing.

He took a swipe at the Prime Minister, posting a report on Chinese soldiers entering India with a picture of Narendra Modi with Chinese president Xi Jinping on a swing.

“And for the record I am not the guy sitting on the swing while a thousand Chinese troops had physically entered India,” the Congress leader said.

In his response to the news channel’s report, party spokesperson Surjewala clarified that not much should be read into the meeting since envoys of various nations meet the party president and vice president as a courtesy.

Also, he said Gandhi not only met the Chinese and Bhutanese envoys but also and former national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon.

“A wanting to be ‘Bhakt’ channel will not question 3 Union Ministers visiting China or PM’s bonhomie & praise at G20 yet run fake news!” he tweeted.

In the morning, the confusion escalated after the Chinese embassy said the two met but removed the statement from its website a while later.

“The two sides exchanged views on the current China-India relations and other business. Counsellor Zhou Yuyun attended the meeting,” the statement read.

The volte-face didn’t go unnoticed.

“The confusion has ended up making a story where none was needed. It’s not a crime to meet the Chinese or PM Modi wouldn’t have meet Pres Xi,” National Conference leader and Congress ally Omar Abdullah tweeted.

Gandhi questioned on Friday the Prime Minister’s “silence” on the impasse in Doklam, located at a narrow but strategically important tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan.

“Why is our Prime Minister silent on China?” he asked on Twitter.

China has accused Indian soldiers of trespass and preventing its army from building a road in the Doklam region, which is claimed by Bhutan.

First Published: Jul 10, 2017 18:27 IST