New Delhi: No foreign minister of any independent country should be pressurised into meeting politicians with their own agendas, officials said after the cancelled meeting of foreign minister S Jaishankar and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal kicked up a storm in international media.
“Rep. Jayapal is not a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and her positions on India are well known. A meeting was not sought with her. Therefore, it was not India which put conditions for the meeting with the HFAC leadership, but the HFAC that insisted on unilaterally bringing a non-member,” officials said, as reported by ANI.
There have been strong reactions to the cancellation of the meeting. Democrat Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders tweeted, “Shutting out U.S. lawmakers who are standing up for human rights is what we expect from authoritarian regimes-not the government of India. @RepJayapal is right. She must not be excluded for being outspoken about the unacceptable crackdown on Kashmiris and Muslims.”
The Washington Post, in its article criticising the decision, wrote, “The decision demonstrates India’s sensitivity over the Kashmir issue as Prime Minister Narendra Modi defends moving in troops, imposing curfews, and cutting off mobile phone and Internet access in India’s only majority-Muslim state.”
Apart from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading democratic party candidates, and Kamala Harris tweeted against India’s decision to call off the meeting.
The tweet has led to a verbal was as BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar gave a sharp reply to Warren’s tweet.
Government officials said that since Ms Jayapal is not a member of the committee Mr Jaishankar was under no obligation to meet her.
(With ANI Inputs)