Jaishankar Justifies Snubbing US Congresswoman Jayapal, Says She Lacks Understanding Of What Is Happening In India

Jaishankar Justifies Snubbing US Congresswoman Jayapal, Says She Lacks Understanding Of What Is Happening In IndiaExternal Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. 

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar cancelled a meeting with senior members of US Congress during his visit to Washington. The Washington Post was quick to report on the matter, and said that Jaishankar “abruptly” cancelled the meeting.

The Washington Post reported early on Friday (20 December) that the cancelling of the meeting came after US lawmakers “refused demands to exclude a congresswoman who has criticised the Indian government’s policies in Kashmir”.

The Congresswoman is Pramila Jayapal, and she has criticised Narendra Modi government’s policies in Kashmir.

Later during the day, ANI quoted Jaishankar as saying: “Don't think it (report) is fair understanding of situation in J&K or fair characterization of what Govt of India is doing. I have no interest in meeting her.”

Going by The Washington Post report, Jayapal’s criticism has not been limited to the Indian government's policies in Kashmir.

She also commented on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), saying that it “adds a whole level of complexity to India as a secular democracy — one of the great prides of the country.”

Jayapal has recently introduced a bill that urges India to “remove the restrictions and release political detainees”.

The The Washington Post report says that the committee was informed by the Indian officials that Jaishankar would not meet if the group included Jayapal, who is “sponsoring a resolution urging India to lift communications restrictions, restore the Internet and preserve religious freedom”.

According to this report, Jaishankar is understood to have withdrawn from the meeting as Indian officials feared that the meeting could give “critics of India to ‘harangue’ the minister on the internal matter pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir instead of engaging with him with an open mind”.

Earlier this month, the Economic Times reported on the bipartisan resolution tabled in the US Congress on Kashmir by Jayapal.

It said: “India is hopeful that a bipartisan resolution tabled in the US Congress on Kashmir by Indian-origin lawmaker Pramila Jayapal, and backed by Republican Steve Watkins, will at the most receive marginal support.”

Going by The Washington Post report, it is not clear if CAA figured in the discussions during the meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Jaishankar.

However, it mentions that Jaishankar “defended the citizenship law” as a “measure which is designed to address the needs of religious minorities from certain countries” at a news conference.

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