Khurshid, Mulayam discuss border row
With the Opposition angling for the UPA’s head on the issue of intrusion of Chinese troops into Indian territory, the Centre has reached out to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has been speaking scathingly about its handling of the issue.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid met Mulayam in Parliament on Friday, even as the Chinese foreign office made the formal announcement that the former would be visiting Beijing on May 9 and 10.
Speaking to reporters aboard his special flight to Teheran, the minister, however, sounded hesitant for the first time about his impending visit. Asked whether there was any certainty about his visit to Beijing, he said it was difficult to predict today as to what would happen tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, Khurshid, along with Minster of State in Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanaswamy and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, had met Mulayam, who had described UPA of being ‘cowardly’ in tackling the Chinese intrusion. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mulayam, a former defence minister, seemed assuaged. “Now the Centre is showing some seriousness. But the need is to drive the Chinese out of our territory... It is a very serious matter,” he emphasised.
Pointing out that the ‘Chinese could not be trusted’, the SP chief said when he was the defence minister, he had directed the Indian armed forces to drive back the Chinese, when they entered one km inside Indian territory. “I directed the (Indian) forces to drive them out. We entered four km inside Chinese territory in the process,” he claimed.
Mulayam, had demanded Khurshid to scrap his visit to Beijing.
Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made it clear that during Khurshid’s visit, both sides would have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations.
The visit was earlier scheduled as an agenda-setter for the trip of Chinese premier Li Keqiang to India, later this month.
Visit Under Cloud
Meanwhile, according to a PTI report, Salman Khurshid’s visit to Beijing next week is under a cloud as he says the progress in dialogue to end the stand-off in Ladakh is not satisfactory.
Khurshid, travelling on a special aircraft to Iran, gave clear indications of uncertainty over the visit saying as of now a review of it has not been done but “what will happen tomorrow, one can’t predict today”.
India would have liked a “much better response” from China, he said and emphasised that wanted reversal of the “adverse incident” in Ladakh and return to the status quo in Depsang Valley where the Chinese troops have intruded.
“We haven’t reviewed at this stage. We have not found it necessary. We have not...reached that stage of review,” he told reporters when asked whether his scheduled visit to Beijing is under review.