New Delhi: The US House of Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) insisted External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to hold a unilateral meet with the Indian origin lawmaker Pramila Jayapal who is a non-member of the committee but the meeting was turned down by New Delhi, sources said.
Jaishankar was in Washington DC and met leaders of the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committees. Sources said, while the meeting with the Senate Foreign Relation Committee members, took place "as envisaged in a very open conversation," the HFAC invited others "without seeking consent" of New Delhi.
"A distorted narrative is being put out by some about EAM's meeting with the US Congress. The External Affairs Minister asked to meet the leadership of the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committees. The Senate meeting took place as envisaged with a very open conversation. Some members of the HFAC also met the minister and discussed issues. But the HFAC invited others without even seeking consent. That is at the heart of the issue," they said.
"No Foreign Minister of any independent country should be pressurised into meeting such politicians with their own agendas," sources said. The HFAC insisted on "unilaterally bringing" in Congresswoman Jayapal, who tabled a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for an end to restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, to meet Jaishankar. It is pertinent to mention that Jayapal is not a member of HFAC and her stand on India is well-known.
"Representative Jayapal is not a member of the HFAC, leave alone part of the HFAC leadership. Her positions on India are well known. A meeting was not sought with her. Therefore, it was not India which put conditions for the meeting with the HFAC leadership but the HFAC that insisted on unilaterally bringing in a non-member," sources said.
Earlier on Thursday, Jaishankar said that he has "no interest" in meeting Jayapal. "I am aware of the draft resolution. I don't think it is a fair understanding of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir or fair characterisation of what the Indian government is doing. I have no interest in meeting her," he said.
Fifty-four-year-old Jayapal had introduced the resolution, co-sponsored by Republican Steve Watkins, that urges India to lift the communication clampdown, release political detainees and "preserve religious freedom for all residents" in Jammu and Kashmir.