07:33 GMT07 March 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): In a move that raised many eyebrows, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called off his meeting with several Congressional leaders in Washington DC on Friday, objecting to the presence of Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who is of Indian-origin.

    Government officials from India have retaliated following Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar’s move to turn down a meeting with Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. He has said that she was not a member of House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), therefore Jaishankar was under no obligation to meet her.

    Calming that a distorted narrative is being peddled regarding the Foreign Minister’s decision, sources said that HFAC invited others without seeking consent and insisted on unilaterally bringing a non-member.

    "No Foreign Minister of any independent country should be pressurised into meeting politicians with their own agendas," sources said.
    “A meeting was not sought with Rep. Jayapal and she is not a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and her positions on India are well known. Therefore, it was not India which put conditions for the meeting with the HFAC leadership, but the HFAC that insisted on unilaterally bringing a non-member," sources added.

    Jayapal has recently advocated a tough resolution on India’s move on Kashmir; Jaishankar said on Thursday that he has “no interest” in meeting her. Adding that her draft resolution on the Kashmir situation neither provides a fair understanding of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir nor a fair characterisation of what Indian government is doing in the region.

    Democratic Party candidates for US president Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said on Friday that “efforts to silence Jaypal are deeply troubling” and the US and India can only succeed through honest dialogue and shared respect for religious pluralism, democracy, and human rights.

    Earlier this year, in August, New Delhi revoked special status of Jammu and Kashmir, bifurcating it into two federally-administered Union Territories.

    Jaypal has introduced a resolution earlier this month urging India to lift communication restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, release of detainees among other things. Her resolution is backed by 29 other co-sponsors. 


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