Rahul, Sonia, Manmohan meet G20 ambassadors over lunch

New Delhi, Mar 6 (PTI) Ahead of Lok Sabha elections, top Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh shared the party’s economic and political vision with ambassadors of G20 member-countries at a meet, during which the Pulwama attack and the subsequent developments were also discussed.
The Pakistan High Commissioner was not invited to the meet here which was attended by the ambassadors of the United States and China, the UK High Commissioner among others, Congress leaders said.
They said Congress President Rahul Gandhi met the ambassadors of G20 countries in India, besides those of neighboring countries, and discussed with them issues of regional, global, strategic and economic importance.
Sources said the Pulwama attack and the consequent air strikes were also learnt to have been discussed during the meeting, as the diplomats were curious about how the developments will play out in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. They also sought to know its effect on the stability of the region.
The meet, held at a local hotel, was earlier slated for February 15 and had been cancelled in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14.
Rahul Gandhi later said he enjoyed the exchange of ideas and looked forward to continuing the dialogue with the envoys.
“Today I met with diplomats of the G-20 nations & some neighboring countries. We discussed a wide range of issues & are united in our fight against the scourge of terrorism. I enjoyed the exchange of perspectives & ideas & look forward to continuing our dialogue,” he said on Twitter while sharing some pictures of the luncheon meeting.
Senior Congress leader and former minister Anand Sharma, who heads the Congress’ foreign affairs department and was the host, said there were requests from heads of various missions for a meeting with the Congress leadership and this was the best structured way to engage.
“It was a meaningful engagement and a good meeting where global, regional, political and economic matters were discussed,” Sharma said after the meeting.
Party president Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders held discussions with the ambassadors on the current geopolitical situation, he said.
Pakistan was not invited for the lunch in view of the current Indo-Pak tension, the sources said.
However, the sources said, the envoys of various countries did talk about the Pulwama attack and its implications and the government’s response.
The Congress chief is learnt to have responded by saying that while the party stood with the government on the issue, it was opposed to politicization of national security issues, the sources said.
The Congress president also shared his party’s vision, including its economic and industrial policies, for revival of agriculture sector and jobs creation, ahead of general elections, Sharma said.
Gandhi is learnt to have first interacted with the ambassadors jointly for half an hour and then sat down at each table and shared his thoughts with them separately. The meeting lasted for almost three hours.
The Congress chief also made it clear to the diplomats that the party is committed and united in carrying forward the fight against terrorism.
Among the neighbouring countries whose diplomats were present at the luncheon meeting were Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The ambassadors of the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey attended the meet.
Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and some other like former union minister Manish Tewari and Bhubaneshwar Kalita were also present besides former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, former Indian ambassador to the US and Germany Meera Shankar, former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal and former High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty.
The ambassadors of Brunei, Dominican Republic and Romania, who head regional groups of ASEAN, GRULAC and Europe, also attended the meet.

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