Diplomats on the job to end standoff: Jaishankar

Foreign Secretary tells MPs that talks are on at various levels, and television channels are showing vastly exaggerated versions of India-China conflict

July 19, 2017 12:57 am | Updated 12:58 am IST - New Delhi

No sign of thaw: Soldiers at Nathu-La, on the border between India and China

No sign of thaw: Soldiers at Nathu-La, on the border between India and China

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday grilled Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on a range of issues. He wanted to know why after years of hard work to build a relationship of mutual respect with China through set mechanisms, things had collapsed. Was that a failure of Indian foreign policy, he asked.

Mr. Gandhi posed this question while making a lengthy intervention at a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs here.

The Congress leader also wanted to know why traditional friends like Turkey and Iraq were turning against India on the Kashmir issue: he referred to the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this year in May when he had made the provocative suggestion of a “multilateral dialogue” on Kashmir, and offered to mediate between India and Pakistan. Mr. Gandhi also asked what had led China’s efforts to show Bhutan that it could serve that country’s interests better than India, with which it has had a long-standing relationship, sources said.

Exaggerated versions

Mr. Jaishankar, who was slated to brief the committee’s members on India-China ties in the wake of the military standoff in Doklam, sources said, tried to reassure MPs that what Indian TV channels were showing was vastly exaggerated and that Indian diplomats were on the job, taking forward what had been done by successive governments in the past. He stressed that talks were on at the commander level, flag level and Special Representative level to calm the situation. He also explained, sources said, that China was asserting its own position, and that India was operating in a fast-changing world. The Foreign Secretary assured the MPs that everything would be eventually resolved.

Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose asked whether there was a China connection in the Darjeeling agitation. To this, CPI(M) MP Mohammad Salim said that since the Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir had accused China of fomenting trouble in their respective States, had the central government asked the intelligence agencies to check on what was happening to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

The Foreign Secretary said he could not take it up at his level. Mr. Bose riposted: “Take it to the appropriate level.”

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.