The Chinese embassy posted the news of Rahul Gandhi's meeting with the Chinese envoy on its website, but later deleted the post. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who kicked up a storm for his meeting with the Chinese ambassador to India, said today evening that it was his "job to be informed on critical issues".
On Twitter, Rahul Gandhi confirmed that he had met the Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui, former National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Congress leaders from the North East as well as the Bhutanese Ambassador Vetsop Namgyel.
It is my job to be informed on critical issues. I met the Chinese Ambassador, Ex-NSA, Congress leaders from NE & the Bhutanese Ambassador— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) July 10, 2017
The Opposition leader also tweeted a 2014 photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping sitting on a swing in Gujarat and pointed out: I am not the guy sitting on the swing while a thousand Chinese troops had physically entered India.
In 2014, the two armies were involved in a similar escalation in Ladakh's Chumar area.
And for the record I am not the guy sitting on the swing while a thousand Chinese troops had physically entered India pic.twitter.com/THG4sULJJC— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) July 10, 2017
Rahul Gandhi also questioned the government why three of its ministers were availing Chinese hospitality while tension along the border persisted.
If Govt is so concerned abt me meeting an Amb,they shld explain why 3Ministers are availing Chinese hospitality while the border issue is on pic.twitter.com/4FCuu9SiAe— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) July 10, 2017
The issue of the Congress scion meeting the Chinese envoy snowballed into a controversy after the Chinese embassy posted the news of the meeting on its website, highlighting that they discussed Sino-Indian relations. The embassy later deleted its post. BJP leaders criticised the meeting which comes amid a stand-off between the two countries near Sikkim's Doka La area.
India's Congress party acknowledged earlier on Monday that vice-president Rahul Gandhi had met the Chinese envoy to India on Saturday, but said the issue should not be sensationalised.
Congress spokesperson RS Surjewala, who confirmed the news on Twitter, said much ado was being made about nothing since "various ambassadors and envoys keep meeting Congress President and Vice President time to time on courtesy basis".
Various ambassadors and envoys keep meeting Congress President and Vice President time to time on courtesy basis: RS Surjewala,Congress pic.twitter.com/7h0dqwzL83— ANI (@ANI_news) July 10, 2017
In a series of tweets, the Congress spokesperson said earlier slammed news channels were running "fake news" on the Congress vice president's alleged meeting with the Chinese Ambassador. He also claimed that the stories were being planted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Information Broadcasting ministry.
A wanting to be 'Bhakt' channel will not question 3 Union Ministers visiting China or PM's bonhomie & praise at G20 yet run fake news!— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 10, 2017
Before MEA & IB sources plant news with 'Bhakts', they should reverify that we still have diplomatic relations with all our neighbours.2/n— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 10, 2017
Rahul Gandhi had earlier questioned the bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg held on July 7-8.
Chinese and Indian troops are currently involved in a stand-off in the disputed Doka La region, on a plateau next to the mountainous Indian state of Sikkim and near the strategic Bhutan tri-junction. China claims the area as Doklam.
Bhutan claims the territory as ts own and along with India, has objected to China constructing a road in the region.
China claims the construction is legitimate as the road is built on its own territory. It says Indian troops crossed the Sikkim section of the India-China border into Doka La and obstructed work on what is "indisputably Chinese territory."
Troops from the two sides have been facing-off close to a valley controlled by China that gives it access to the so-called Chicken's Neck, a thin strip of land that connects India to its remote northeastern regions.