WASHINGTON: The United States has responded to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks in the Indian parliament, Lok Sabha, that the policies adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have brought Pakistan and China closer.
The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price categorically refused to “endorse” such a statement on Washington’s behalf and said, “Pakistan is our strategic partner”.
“I’ll let Pakistanis and the PRC (People’s Republic of China) speak for themselves about their relationship. These remarks will certainly not be endorsed by me,” Price said during a regular press briefing.
The US said it values its relationship with Pakistan while emphasizing that there was no requirement, as far as Washington was concerned, for other countries to choose between the US and China.
“We’ve made the point all along that it is not a requirement for any country around the world to choose between the United States and China,” Spokesman Ned Price told reporters when asked if Pakistan and China have become closer because “they feel abandoned” by the US.
Rahul, while speaking in Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks on President’s address during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament on Wednesday, had said that the incumbent Indian government’s stand on China and Pakistan worked only to unite the two countries together against India.
“India’s single most important strategic goal has been to keep China and Pakistan apart but what you have done has only brought them together,” Rahul had said, as he accused the Modi-led government of committing the biggest crime it could commit against India.
“The foundation of their (China and Pakistan) plan has been put in place in Doklam and Ladakh. This is a serious threat to India. We have made a huge strategic mistake in J&K and our foreign policy,” the Wayanad MP had said.
Shortly after Rahul Gandhi’s speech, Union ministers slammed the former Congress president. While External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said Rahul Gandhi need some ‘history lessons’, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, sought an apology from the Congress leader.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had called Gandhi a “confused and mindless” leader who is all “praise” for China.