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Rahul meets Chinese envoy

By Spl Correspondent
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NEW DELHI, July 10 - In a flip-flop, the Congress today first denied a meeting between party vice president Rahul Gandhi and Chinese ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui only to confirm it hours later.

The meeting that generated much political storm comes amid escalating tension between India and China following a border stand-off in the Sikkim sector.

The Congress vice president had met the Chinese ambassador to India, the party confirmed today, with a spokesperson claiming that �there�s no need to sensationalise the meeting.�

Till about 8:30 am, the Chinese embassy�s website referred to Gandhi�s deliberation with the envoy on Saturday, while highlighting that they discussed �current Sino-Indian relations�. However, the Chinese embassy later deleted the post.

As controversy grew, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted that India still has diplomatic relations with China. Other party leaders soon joined in and tweeted: �Even if Congress VP had met the Chinese Ambassador we don�t see it as an issue.�

The confirmation finally came earlier this evening. �Be it the Chinese ambassador or Bhutanese ambassador Vetsop Namgyel and former national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Rahul Gandhi met all three of them. Nobody should try to sensationalise such normal courtesy calls,� Surjewala said.

As the TV channels played up the meeting, Gandhi came out and told newsmen that his job is to remain being informed on critical issues. �I met the Chinese ambassador, former NSA, Congress leaders from the Northeast and the Bhutanese ambassador,� he said.

�If the government is so concerned about my meeting an ambassador, they should explain why three ministers are availing Chinese hospitality, while the border issue is on,� Gandhi said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come under severe criticism of the Congress party for not coming publicly on the confrontation with China.

Last week, Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui bluntly remarked that there was �no scope for compromise� and that for any dialogue to commence, India must pull back its soldiers from the Dokalam area in the Sikkim sector.

Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Germany last week a day after Beijing announced that �the atmosphere was not right� for a bilateral meeting. The leaders, however, had an informal discussion on �a range of topics� according to the External Affairs Ministry.

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Rahul meets Chinese envoy

NEW DELHI, July 10 - In a flip-flop, the Congress today first denied a meeting between party vice president Rahul Gandhi and Chinese ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui only to confirm it hours later.

The meeting that generated much political storm comes amid escalating tension between India and China following a border stand-off in the Sikkim sector.

The Congress vice president had met the Chinese ambassador to India, the party confirmed today, with a spokesperson claiming that �there�s no need to sensationalise the meeting.�

Till about 8:30 am, the Chinese embassy�s website referred to Gandhi�s deliberation with the envoy on Saturday, while highlighting that they discussed �current Sino-Indian relations�. However, the Chinese embassy later deleted the post.

As controversy grew, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted that India still has diplomatic relations with China. Other party leaders soon joined in and tweeted: �Even if Congress VP had met the Chinese Ambassador we don�t see it as an issue.�

The confirmation finally came earlier this evening. �Be it the Chinese ambassador or Bhutanese ambassador Vetsop Namgyel and former national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Rahul Gandhi met all three of them. Nobody should try to sensationalise such normal courtesy calls,� Surjewala said.

As the TV channels played up the meeting, Gandhi came out and told newsmen that his job is to remain being informed on critical issues. �I met the Chinese ambassador, former NSA, Congress leaders from the Northeast and the Bhutanese ambassador,� he said.

�If the government is so concerned about my meeting an ambassador, they should explain why three ministers are availing Chinese hospitality, while the border issue is on,� Gandhi said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come under severe criticism of the Congress party for not coming publicly on the confrontation with China.

Last week, Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui bluntly remarked that there was �no scope for compromise� and that for any dialogue to commence, India must pull back its soldiers from the Dokalam area in the Sikkim sector.

Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Germany last week a day after Beijing announced that �the atmosphere was not right� for a bilateral meeting. The leaders, however, had an informal discussion on �a range of topics� according to the External Affairs Ministry.