India condemns US Congressional panel for a cancelled meeting with Jaishankar

Last Updated: Dec 23 2019 15:07
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The Indian external affairs ministry has condemned a US congressional committee for the cancellation of a meeting its leadership was scheduled to have had with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the sidelines of his visit here earlier this week for the second 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) had added Indian American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal to the list of lawmakers who would attend the meeting “without seeking consent” and that the committee had changed the conditions of the meeting by “unilaterally bringing a non-member”, a source said, and added, “No Foreign Minister of any independent country should be pressurised into meeting such politicians with their own agendas.”

Jaishankar was scheduled to meet the Congressional leaders on Wednesday afternoon after the completion of the 2+2 meeting that he and defence minister Rajnath Singh had with their American counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper. 

The meeting with the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) took place as scheduled and the minister met Chairman Jim Risch, a Republican, and Ranking Member Robert Menendez, a Democrat, and a “very open conversation” took place, the source said, which, in the language deployed by diplomats, meant all sensitive and tough issues were discussed. Jaishankar told reporters later the CAA was among the issues discussed.

“Rep Jayapal is not a member of the HFAC, leave alone part of the HFAC leadership,” the source said, adding, “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 in a non-member.”