New Delhi: The Congress party Sunday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its “silence” on the issue of Chinese incursions in India, alleging links between policy foundations operating in the country and their ostensible links with the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). The son of external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, has been the target of the party’s latest salvo.
In a press conference in Rajasthan, on the sidelines of the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, the chairman of the Congress’s media department, Pawan Khera, said that the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), where Jaishankar’s son, Dhruva Jaishankar, works, has received funding from the Chinese Embassy in India.
“It is important to reveal a piece of information today. The foundation, whose unit in USA is headed by son of the Foreign Minister, has received funding from the Chinese Embassy, not once, not twice, but three times. This has happened recently. Why was this funding received? What is the reason? What is the reason for which the government of India repeatedly maintains silence over China?”, asked Khera.
He also trained his guns on another policy research organisation, the India Foundation.
“The India Foundation has a lot of people from the Sangh associated with it. Why does the foundation visit China so often? What relationship does it have with China?”, Khera said.
Established in 1990 as a multi-disciplinary think-thank with the support of the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the ORF is now a key player in India’s diplomatic and foreign policy-making. Dhruva Jaishankar joined ORF in 2019, as director of its US initiative, soon after his father was appointed foreign minister.
The India Foundation is a similar policy research centre that “focuses on the issues, challenges and opportunities of the Indian polity.”
ThePrint has reached out to Ram Madhav of the India Foundation, who is also a senior RSS functionary, by WhatsApp calls and messages and text messages for his comment on Khera’s statement. An email has also been sent to the ORF seeking their comment on Khera’s allegation of Chinese funding as well as the personal allegations made against Dhruva Jaishankar.
This copy will be updated when a response is received.
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Govt downplaying China threat: Congress
Khera’s statement comes as part of a sustained criticism of the government on the issue of Chinese incursions mounted by the Congress party in Parliament and in the media since last week. The party has been accusing the government of downplaying the threat posed by China after the GoI, last week, said that China had tried to “unilaterally change the status quo” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh.
On Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the government was “sleeping” while China was “preparing for war”.
“China is preparing for war, not for an incursion. See their pattern of weapons. They are preparing for war. Our government is not accepting it. The government of India is working on events, not on strategy”, said Gandhi who’s giving the Winter Session of Parliament a miss due to the Yatra.
“China has taken our land. They are beating our soldiers. The threat of China is clear. And the government is hiding it, ignoring it. China is preparing for an offensive in Ladakh and Arunachal. And the government of India is sleeping”, he added.
Gandhi’s statement has been criticised by the BJP, which accused him of “speaking the language of China”.
On Saturday, Union Minister and BJP leader Kiren Rijiju posted a picture of himself on Twitter from the India-China border at Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, to say that India’s borders were secure. “He (Rahul Gandhi) is not only insulting Indian Army but damaging the nation’s image”, said Rijiju.
(Edited by Anumeha Saxena)
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