Kamala Harris decries Jaishankar’s decision of not meeting Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal had introduced a resolution in the House on Kashmir.

December 21, 2019 05:08 am | Updated 05:08 am IST - Washington

Top Democratic Senator Kamala Harris on Friday came out in support of her fellow Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, with whom External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar refused to meet during his visit to the country early this week.

“It’s wrong for any foreign government to tell Congress what members are allowed in meetings on Capitol Hill,” Ms. Harris, who dropped out of the Democratic presidential race early this month said in a tweet.

The first U.S. Senator of Indian origin, Ms. Harris said she stands with Ms. Jayapal.

“I’m glad her colleagues in the House did too,” she said responding to a news report in The Washington Post which said that Mr. Jaishankar refused to attend a meeting of House Foreign Affairs Committee, because Jayapal was also scheduled to be present in that meeting along with other lawmakers.

Earlier in the day, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and a leading Democratic presidential candidate came out in support of Ms. Jayapal.

“The U.S. and India have an important partnership—but our partnership can only succeed if it is rooted in honest dialogue and shared respect for religious pluralism, democracy, and human rights,” she tweeted.

Ms. Warren said the “efforts to silence” Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal “are deeply troubling”.

She retweeted a report by The Washington Post which said that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar refused to attend a meeting of House Foreign Affairs Committee members that included Ms. Jayapal.

Ms. Jayapal, the first Indian American women to be elected to the House of Representatives, has introduced a resolution in the House on Kashmir.

The pending resolution on Kashmir introduced by Ms. Jayapal in the House is not a fair characterisation of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told a group of Indian reporters on Thursday.

“I am aware of that (Congressional) resolution. I don’t think it’s a fair understanding of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir or a fair characterisation of what the government of India is doing. And I have no interest in meeting (Jayapal),” Mr. Jaishankar said when asked if he asked for a meeting with Ms. Jayapal.

Ms. Jayapal thanked Senators Ms. Harris and Ms. Warren for their support.

“We’re rapidly entering a world where it’s not only acceptable but encouraged for foreign governments to shun the president’s domestic political opponents. This isn’t a situation in which a coherent foreign policy can be developed,” she said in another tweet on Friday.

Congressman Jim McGovern also came out in her support.

“No foreign government should dictate who is or isn’t allowed into meetings on Capitol Hill,” he said.

“I stand with” Jayapal and “applaud” Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee “and others for doing the same,” he said.

“The partnership between the U.S. and India must be grounded in open, honest conversation between friends,” Mr. McGovern said.

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