Amidst its flip-flop on party Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the Chinese envoy, the Congress on Monday questioned why the country does not have a full-time Defence Minister during the time of a sensitive security situation like the present border stand-off.
“As so far as India’s position is concerned we have consistently and unequivocally backed any position taken in national interest. However, there can be a divergence on how a particular matter should be handled.
“As a responsible national party, we are extremely concerned because there seems to be almost a two-front situation developing and it is unfortunate that in the last 38 months for a substantive period of time, India has not had a full-time Defence Minister,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
“The PM needs to answer these questions that when you have a sensitive security situation as defined in the words of spokespersons and senior ministers of the government, why does India do not have a full-time Defence Minister.
“Probably the Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) is competent to bat on two fronts – North Block and South Block. But a two-front situation may prove to be different,” he added.
On Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui, Tewari said: “In this particular instance, he did meet with the Chinese ambassador, he also met with the Bhutanese ambassador, he did meet with the former National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon.”
The party also mounted an attack on the government, asking why so much of brouhaha was being made about the meeting while Modi went out of the way to meet Xi in his hotel in Hamburg.
“If so much of a brouhaha is being made about it then why did Prime Minister Narendra Modi actually cross Lake Alster and go to Grand Elysee Hotel to meet with the Chinese President, specially after the Chinese had made it known that a structured bilateral meeting is not possible because of the stand off.”
“What was the Minister of Human Resources Prakash Javadekar doing in Beijing. What was the Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma doing on July 6 and 7 in Beijing and what was union Health Minister J.P. Nadda doing in China at the same time,” Congress leader Manish Tiwari asked.
“Why is the India Foundation Delegation led by BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav now in China after two of their researchers were refused a visa?” he questioned.
Tewari added: “In the normal course of business, people do meet other people, and people in public life do try and acquaint themselves with the fact, and therefore we would first welcome answers to all these questions from either the government or those who have raised them.”