Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's 'Indian Foreign Service has changed' remark has invited a sharp response from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
At the 'Ideas for India' conference in London, Gandhi criticised the Indian Foreign Service. "I was talking to some bureaucrats from Europe and they were saying that the Indian foreign service has completely changed, they do not listen to anything. They are arrogant... There is no conversation," he said.
Countering Gandhi's claims, the EAM said that the change in the Indian Foreign Service is not arrogance, but confidence. It is called defending national interest, he added.
Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar wrote, "Yes, the Indian Foreign Service has changed. Yes, they follow the orders of the Government. Yes, they counter the arguments of others. No, its not called Arrogance. It is called Confidence. And it is called defending National Interest."
Meanwhile, at the conference, Gandhi slammed the BJP government at the Centre on multiple fronts and alleged that the "deep state" in India is attacking institutions and capturing them.
He said, "What is happening today is that there is a systematic attack on the institutions that allow conversations to take place. There is an attack on the Constitution of India. The result of this attack is that the states of India are longer able to negotiate with the government."
Highlighting that democracy in India is a global public good, he said, "It is a central anchor for the planet. Because, we are the only people who have managed democracy at the scale that nobody has. If that cracks, it is going to cause a problem for the planet."
"We believe India is a negotiation between its people. The BJP and the RSS believe India is a 'Sone Ki Chidiya' whose benefits should be distributed to a few. We believe everyone should have equal access," he said.
(With ANI inputs)