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Published On: Mon, Jul 10th, 2017

Congress confirmed Rahul Gandhi met the Chinese ambassador to India.

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rahul-gandhi-pti-photo-620x400NEW DELHI : Congress boss Rahul Gandhi met the Chinese ambassador to India amid a massive border standoff between the two countries, his party confirmed today, with a spokesperson claiming that “there’s no need to sensationalize the meeting.”

What the Congress is unable to explain is why, till about 8.30 am, the Chinese embassy’s website referred to Mr Gandhi conferring with the envoy on Saturday, July 8, while highlighting that they discussed “current Sino-India relations”. (Scroll down for screenshot). The Chinese embassy has now deleted its post.

Reports of the meeting attracted strong criticism from BJP leaders. And as the controversy grew, Mr Gandhi’s office for hours neither confirmed nor denied the meeting.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala stressed on Twitter that India still has diplomatic relations with China. Ramya, who heads the party’s social media cell, tweeted, “Even if Congress VP had met the Chinese Ambassador I don’t see it as an issue.”

Early this evening, Mr Surjewala told that Mr Gandhi had met with the Chinese diplomat, as also the Bhutanese envoy – standard procedure, he claimed: “G5 nation ambassadors do meet Rahul Gandhi on courtesy basis. We shouldn’t term these normal courtesy calls as news items.”
The Congress on Monday denied media reports as “fake news” that its vice-president Rahul Gandhi met a Chinese envoy in the capital amid the China-India border stand-off at Doklam in Sikkim.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in a series of tweets said some news channels were running “fake news” on Gandhi’s alleged meeting with Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui.

The channels “will not question three Union Ministers visiting China or PM’s (Narendra Modi) bonhomie and praise at G20. Yet run fake news”, Surjewala said.He alleged that the report was planted by external affairs ministry and Intelligence Bureau sources.”They should reverify that we still have diplomatic relations with all our neighbours,” Surjewala said.
Last week, Mr Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not commenting publicly on the confrontation with China. India has ignored China’s warning of “serious consequences” if it does not withdraw soldiers from what Beijing claims as its territory across the border in Sikkim. China claims that early in June, Indian soldiers entered the region it calls Donglang, and stopped Chinese troops from constructing a road there.

China says the land belongs to it as part of an accord it signed with the British in 1890. But India and the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan say the area where the land is being built (Doklam) belongs to Bhutan, which did not sign the treaty, and counts on India for diplomatic and military support.
Last week, in uncharacteristically blunt remarks, the Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui said in an interview that there was “no scope for compromise” and that for any dialogue to commence, India must pull back its soldiers.
Delhi has ignored that warning, as also several threats in Chinese state-run media of India exposing itself to a “humiliating” defeat like in the 1962 war that was fought over Arunachal Pradesh if this aggression escalates. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley retorted that the India of 2017 “is different from that of 1962.

PM Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Germany last week a day after Beijing announced “the atmosphere was not right” for a bilateral meeting. The leaders, however, had an informal discussion on “a range of topics”, said the Foreign Ministry, refusing to comment on whether the Sikkim confrontation was part of the talks.
The area under dispute is vital to India’s security because it is located at the tri-junction of India, Tibet and Bhutan, and the road being constructed gives China access to a strip called “Chicken’s Neck”, which links the rest of India to its seven north-eastern states.

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