Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s blunders, a fragile economy, troubled neighbourhood and weak foreign policy prompted China to act against India, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said in a short video released by the Congress on Friday.
Mr. Gandhi, in the 3.37-minute video, alleged that in the past six years, the Narendra Modi government “disturbed and disrupted” all these aspects and made the country vulnerable.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who has been a career diplomat, offered a point by point rebuttal on Twitter and asserted that India’s global standing had not only gone up but engaged China on equal terms.
“Pakistan [that you skipped] surely notes the difference between Balakot and Uri on the one hand, and Sharm-el-Sheikh, Havana and 26/11 on the other. Ask yourself”, Mr. Jaishankar said in reply to Mr. Gandhi’s video on foreign policy.
The video is part of a newly launched series where the Congress leader would discuss issues related to current affairs for those interested in knowing the “truth”. This comes after his high-profile virtual interviews with experts during the nationwide lockdown.
“Since 2014, the PM’s constant blunders and indiscretions have fundamentally weakened India and left us vulnerable. Empty words don’t suffice in the world of geopolitics”, he said in a tweet along with the video.
“... Today you have a country which is economically in trouble; in trouble as far as foreign policy is concerned; in trouble with its neighbours; and that’s why the Chinese have decided that this is possibly the best time to act”, he said in his latest video. “So our strengths have suddenly become our weaknesses”.
“A country is protected by its foreign relationships, it is protected by its neighbourhood, it is protected by its economy, it is protected by the feeling that its people have. The vision that its people have. And what has happened over the last six years is that in all those areas, India has been disturbed and disrupted”, he stated.
‘Relations are transactional’
In terms of foreign policy, Mr. Gandhi claimed that earlier, powers like the United States, Russia and the European Union used to help India manoeuvre globally but now relations were transactional.
“Today our relationship has become transactional. We have a transactional relationship with the U.S. We have disturbed our relationship with the Russians. We have a transactional relationship with Europe”, he observed.
Except Pakistan, earlier all the neighbours -- be it Nepal, Sri Lanka or Bhutan -- were India’s partners. “Today Nepal is angry with us. If you go to Nepal and you speak to the Nepali people they are furious with what has happened. Sri Lankans have given a port to the Chinese. Maldives is disturbed. Bhutan is disturbed. So we have disrupted our foreign partners. we’ve disrupted our neighbourhood”, he said.
“... Some facts on our neighbourhood: The Hambantota Port agreement between Sri Lanka and China was concluded in 2008. Ask those who dealt with it...Difficult ties with Maldives, after India watched President Nasheed being toppled in 2012, now stand transformed. Ask our business”, Mr. Jaishankar responded.
Mr. Gandhi said India’s economy used to be its pride but now it was completely disturbed. “Worst economic growth in 50 years with no end in sight. Absolute disaster. Unemployment highest in 40 - 50 years...We told them [the Centre]... for God’s sake inject money into the economy. Fire the economy and do it immediately...We told the government that look, please realise that we are becoming vulnerable. All these things are connected”.