'Won't endorse': US reacts to Rahul Gandhi's 'Pakistan-China' comment
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said in the Parliament that China and Pakistan had come closer due to the policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) central government. His comment drew sharp reactions from many, including from the United States. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a press briefing he "would not endorse" Gandhi's remarks.
- In his Parliament speech, Gandhi blamed the Centre for bringing Pakistan and China closer.
- "You have brought Pakistan and China together. This is the single biggest crime that you could commit against the people of India," he said. "The Chinese have a very clear vision of what they want to do," he said.
- The Congress leader also slammed the government over unemployment and poverty.
At the press briefing, Price said, "I will leave it to the Pakistanis and PRC (People's Republic of China) to speak about their relationship. I certainly won't endorse those remarks." "We have made the point all along that it is not a requirement for any country around the world to choose between the United States and China," he added.
Back in India, Gandhi's comments invited criticism from several BJP leaders and ministers. "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," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi called Gandhi a "confused, mindless" leader. "He said that India is not a nation. He said China's vision is very clear. Have you come here to support China? Tibet problem is because of Congress only," he told reporters outside the Parliament. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was also among those who slammed Gandhi's Parliament speech.
Gandhi was leading the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's speech from the Opposition side. The Budget Session had commenced on Monday while the Union Budget was tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman the next day. The Session is being conducted in two parts—from January 31 to February 11 and from March 14 to April 8.