External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday strongly rebutted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's comments in Lok Sabha that India could not get any foreign guests to attend the Republic Day celebrations. The minister also rejected Gandhi's allegation that the Narendra Modi government brought Pakistan and China together.
Jaishankar said that the presidents of five Central Asian countries who were to come held a virtual summit on January 27. "In Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi said we could not get a foreign guest for Republic Day. Those who live in India know we were in the midst of a corona wave," the external affairs minister tweeted.
"The five Central Asian presidents, who were to come, did hold a virtual summit on January 27. Did Rahul Gandhi miss that as well?" he posed. India invited Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to attend the Republic Day celebrations as chief guests. But they could not attend due to the COVID-19 situation.
The presidents held a virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 27. The external affairs minister also slammed Gandhi for his allegations against the government on Pakistan and China.
"Rahul Gandhi alleged in Lok Sabha that it is this government which brought Pakistan and China together. Perhaps, some history lessons are in order: In 1963, Pakistan illegally handed over the Shaksgam valley to China; China built the Karakoram highway through PoK in the 1970s," Jaishankar said. The external affairs minister said the two countries also had close nuclear collaboration from the 1970s. "In 2013, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor started. So, ask yourself: were China and Pakistan distant then?" he said.
With PTI Inputs