Congress leader meets Minister as Standing Committee’s report could not be tabled in Parliament.
Chairman of the Standing Committee on External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Friday met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to resolve the stand-off over the panel’s report on the Doklam crisis.
The panel failed to table the report in the just-concluded monsoon session, though it had met on August 7 and 9. At both meetings, sources said, BJP members had a series of objections and did not let the panel adopt the draft report.
According to sources, Mr. Tharoor submitted the report to the Ministry of External Affairs to give the government an opportunity to study it before tabling it in Parliament. “It seems that the ruling party has no objections with the recommendations of the panel but with the testimonies of MEA and Defence Ministry officials, which were candid and many of them unflattering towards the government,” a Committee member said.
The report contains testimonies of former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, present Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and former Army chief General Deepak Kapoor (retd.). In parts, the testimonies from the MEA and the Defence Ministry contradict each other. Both sides, however, agreed that there was a build-up of Chinese troops at the other side of the border.
Sources told The Hindu that Mr. Tharoor had explained the entire situation to Ms. Swaraj. The MEA will study and, if need be, redact the “problematic” portions.
The panel however, would take the final call on the amendments suggested by the government.
The report could be discarded if it is not submitted before the panel’s term expires on August 31. If the report was not submitted before its term ends, then the report could easily be binned. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is also a panel member.
In the last two consecutive meetings, the report could not be adopted because of protests from the BJP members. The members in a meeting on August 7 first complained that they got the copy of the draft report too late and did not have enough time to give it a thorough reading.
In the second meeting on August 9, the lone BJP MP Sharad Tripathi, left the meeting mid way citing ‘lack of qorum’.
The military face off at Doklam between India and China started on June 16, 2017, when a Chinese road construction party tried to build a road in the Doklam region and was stopped by Indian troops.