Great confusion reigned over whether Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has met Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui with both the Congress party and the Chinese embassy making u-turns on their statements about the meeting.
The changing versions from both sides has created intrigue about the situation.
While the Congress had earlier denied having information about the meeting, they later confirmed that the meeting took place.
NDTV quoted Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala as saying, "Be it the Chinese ambassador (Luo Zhaohui) or Bhutanese ambassador (Vetsop Namgyel) or former national security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Rahul Gandhi met all three of them. Nobody should try to sensationalise such normal courtesy calls."
But before that, Surjewala had denied the news of Gandhi meeting Zhaohui calling it fake news.
A wanting to be 'Bhakt' channel will not question 3 Union Ministers visiting China or PM's bonhomie & praise at G20 yet run fake news!— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 10, 2017
Before MEA & IB sources plant news with 'Bhakts', they should reverify that we still have diplomatic relations with all our neighbours.2/n— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 10, 2017
After Surjewala's statement, Gandhi himself stepped in and said that he did meet the Ambassador:
It is my job to be informed on critical issues. I met the Chinese Ambassador, Ex-NSA, Congress leaders from NE & the Bhutanese Ambassador— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) July 10, 2017
If Govt is so concerned abt me meeting an Amb,they shld explain why 3Ministers are availing Chinese hospitality while the border issue is on pic.twitter.com/4FCuu9SiAe— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) July 10, 2017
Chinese embassy in India had, meanwhile, first posted about the meeting on its website, but later deleted the post.
NDTV reported that the website said, before the post was deleted, that Gandhi had met Zhaohui on Saturday and had even discussed the relations between the two countries.
The flip-flop from both the Chinese embassy and the Congress created much confusion at a time when China and India are at a standoff in Sikkim.
But even though Gandhi has now confirmed that he did meet with the Chinese Ambassador, and perhaps there is absolutely nothing wrong in doing so, but curiosity begs the question on why there was so much of a secrecy in the beginning. And why a senior leader in the party called it fake news, when the meeting actually happened.