Published On: Sun, Jul 19th, 2020

Neighbourhood first policy derailed by cavalier approach: Congress

New Delhi: Hitting out at External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, former union minister Anand Sharma said that the rhetoric and tweets do not change ground reality and foreign policy must have gravitas and depth. Engagements with strategic partners demand seriousness and cannot be trivialised and reduced to event management, Sharma said.

Do I have to remind that Indian Army, Air Force and Navy existed before May 2014

In a statement Anand Sharma said, “Amused by Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar’s defence of a directionless foreign policy. Neighbourhood first has been a priority of India’s foreign policy but sadly derailed by a cavalier approach,” said Sharma.

The Congress leader said the government may pat its back but history will judge you by outcomes how much you may create illusions by your optics.

The attack from the Congress comes after the External Affairs Minister rebutted Rahul Gandhi on key foreign policy issues, which were raised by former Congress president on Friday via video release.

Replying to Rahul Gandhi, Jaishankar had said, “Rahul Gandhi has questions on Foreign Policy. Here are some answers. Our major partn’ships are stronger and international standing higher. Witness regular summits and informal meetings with US, Russia, Europe and Japan. India engages China on more equal terms politically. Ask the analysts.”

But Anand Sharma demanded to know why the relationship with neighbours are low. “India and Nepal have historically shared a relationship based on trust, friendship, and mutual respect. The present drift and tension are a matter of national concern. Foreign Minister cannot have the luxury of denial but should answer for the failures,” he said.

Sharma also attacked Jaishankar’s reference to Mumbai terror attack and said it was “oddly out of place.”

“As India’s Ambassador and senior diplomat, he was articulating India’s position which, for political expediency, he has chosen to criticize and disown. India’s response was robust & mobilisation of International support exposed and isolated Pakistan.”

Why use Balakote, Uri and every brave action of Indian armed forces for partisan propaganda? Every Indian is proud of them, Sharma said.

“Do I have to remind that Indian Army, Air Force and Navy existed before May 2014 and their heroics and valour were respected globally. Army belongs to the nation and fights under the tricolour.”

The Congress leader asked not to politicise the defence forces. “Advising in national interest. Do not politicise or monopolise our defence forces,” said Sharma.

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