August 1, 2018
Sugata Bose asks a Question on the informal summit with China
First Supplementary Question
Madam Speaker, in the early 21st century Asia is recovering the global position it had lost 200 years ago. In order to realise our dream of an Asian century, India and China must strive to peacefully manage their simultaneous rise. It is therefore entirely appropriate to have close engagement at the highest levels of our two governments. I hope the informal summit in Wuhan will not only lead to another beautiful summit at another beautiful place in India next year, but will also lead to a structure of strategic framework of dialogue to enhance our cooperation and resolve our differences.
In the written reply to my question about the topic covered in the nine-hour conversation, one word is conspicuous by its absence. It is the name of a place called ‘Doklam’ which was a cause for great concern last year during our Monsoon Session of Parliament. We in the opposition showed our solidarity with the Government to enable our brave soldiers to hold their ground and to allow space for our diplomats to make their best efforts to defuse the crisis.
Our Parliament deserves to be taken into confidence as to whether or not our Prime Minister raised the Doklam issue and whether the strategic guidance, provided by the two leaders of the respected military, has resulted in the dismantling of the Chinese infrastructure which came uncomfortably close to our Siliguri corridor. Will the External Affairs Minister please shed some light on this matter?
Second Supplementary Question
I am very happy to hear that the Dolma issue has been resolved through diplomatic efforts. My second supplementary question, Madam Speaker, relates to our vital concerns in the Indian Ocean’s inter-regional arena, which has historically been an economic, cultural and political hub. During the last year, China has acquired a military base in Djibouti and obtained a 99 year lease of the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota. China has been building ports in different countries in our neighbourhood and increasing its influencing on all of the lands abutting the Indian Ocean.
Has our Prime Minister, in general terms, apprised the President of China of our irreducible interests in our oceanic periphery, and also sought freedom of navigation in the South China sea, so that we may have peace and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific?
I am sorry Madam Speaker that I am having to pose these questions to Sushma Swaraj Ji who was not present at Wuhan. I had originally addressed the question to the Prime Minister but our Secretariat redirected it to our esteemed External Affairs Minister. There used to be a parliamentary tradition of the Prime Minister giving a statement before this House of the People after an important summit.
I am very happy to hear from Sushma Ji, for whom I have the highest respect, but after she has answered this question, I would request the Prime Minister to say a few words about the summit.