Congress underlines growing Chinese presence in the region.

Congress underlines growing Chinese presence in the region.

The Congress on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of exercising a personalised foreign policy which eroded India’s international credibility.

Party president Rahul Gandhi, in his speech at the Congress plenary session, underlined the growing Chinese presence in India’s neighbourhood and made a specific mention of the Doklam plateau near Bhutan where China has built military infrastructure.

For third alternative

“China is present everywhere. China is in Doklam, in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar,” said Mr. Gandhi, highlighting the growing expansion of the Chinese sphere in the Asia-Pacific,, and called for a third alternative apart from the American and the Chinese models in the global order.

Mr. Gandhi’s comments came at the end of the two-day plenary. The party released a document on the state of the country’s foreign affairs, and said the current government had moved away from the fundamental principles of the Indian foreign policy.

“The PM has pursued a personalised foreign policy. The foreign policy engagements and the PM’s visits abroad, have been reduced to being purely transactional. The Prime Minister’s tendency to disparage his predecessors and diminish India’s achievements since Independence, has undercut India’s own credibility abroad,” the foreign policy resolution said.

The plenary was attended by strong contingents from abroad. The Awami League of Bangladesh, African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, and the UNP of Sri Lanka sent significant delegations. The Nepali Congress, which was defeated in last year’s general election, was represented by a large delegation led by former envoy of Kathmandu to Delhi, Deep Kumar Upadhyay. The Chinese Communist Party sent a member delegate.

Bangladesh concern

Mr. Gandhi’s speech found strong support from Dr. Dipu Moni, former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh who argued that the Congress leader “very well articulated” the vision of India.

“According to me, Mr. Gandhi’s vision of removing barriers inside India and his party through jobs and increased representation, is relevant for our region. We should similarly, remove barriers and create a future based on peace and prosperity in South Asia,” said Dr. Moni at the end of the plenary. Dr. Moni and her delegation members met Mr. Gandhi on Saturday. She described Mr. Gandhi’s speech as a message for entire South Asian region.

Reflecting Mr. Gandhi’s speech, Dr. Moni said India was expected to play an important role and provide a new alternative to the world: “Now we have two visions of the U.S. and China in the world. A third vision of peace and common development is possible, given India’s depth of culture.”

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