A distorted narrative is being put out over External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar cancelling a meeting with a US Congressional delegation official, sources said Saturday. On Wednesday, Jaishankar cancelled a meeting with the US House of Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) after it refused to exclude Indian-origin Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, a vocal critic of India’s policy on Kashmir.
Sources said a meeting with Jayapal was not sought as she is not a member of the Congressional panel, adding it was the HFAC which insisted on unilaterally bringing in a non-member for the meeting. Leading Democratic presidential aspirants Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and two other US lawmakers have came out in support of Jayapal following Jaishankar’s refusal to meet her.
Recently, Jayapal introduced a Congressional resolution on Kashmir urging India to lift all the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir imposed after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. “No foreign minister of any independent country should be pressured into meeting such politicians with their own agendas,” a source said. They said the external affairs minister met leaders of the Senate.
“A distorted narrative is being put out by some about EAM’s meeting with the US Congress. The external affairs minister asked to meet the leadership of the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committees,” the source said.
The Senate meeting took place as envisaged with a very open conversation. Some members of the HFAC also met EAM and discussed issues, the sources said, adding the HFAC invited other members without even seeking consent.
“That is at the heart of the issue,” said the source. They said Jayapal is not a member of the Congressional panel, leave alone being part of its leadership.
“Representative Jayapal is not a member of the HFAC, leave alone part of the HFAC leadership. 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,” a source said. In his reaction, Jaishankar had said that he has “no interest” in meeting Jayapal.
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Source: Financial Express