Why Sushma Swaraj lied over Bandung Conference?


The Congress along with other opposition parties has moved a privilege motion against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the Rajya Sabha for allegedly misleading the House over two issues — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lahore visit in 2015 and the Bandung Conference in Indonesia the same year.

Leaders of different political parties have alleged that Ms Swaraj “provided wrong information on the Bandung Asia Africa relations conference”. They added that while Ms Swaraj claimed that she had not delivered any speech during the Bandung conference, the opposition parties have downloaded a purported speech and will attach it as proof.

The government and the opposition yesterday engaged in a verbal duel in the Rajya Sabha over India’s statement at the Bandung Conference. Senior Congress member Anand Sharma alleged that first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s name was omitted from the address delivered by Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh at the conference.

Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien supported Mr Sharma in attacking the government. However, Ms Swaraj said India didn’t address the Bandung Conference. She said the speech which Mr Sharma was referring to was delivered at another Afro-Asian Conference held separately.

“These were two different conferences,” she maintained.

Pandit Nehru was one of the founder members of the Bandung Conference in 1955.
The second privilege is for allegedly “misinforming the House on PM Modi’s 2015 Lahore visit, claiming that there was no terror incident after that”.

The opposition, however, said that the Pathankot terror attack happened immediately after PM Modi’s visit and there were five other terror-related incidents after that too.

Mr Sharma also demanded to know why PM Modi made that visit to Pakistan and “why, till date, nobody knows the details of the meeting”.

“You were going to Afghanistan and got down at Lahore mid-way; till date the Prime Minister hasn’t told the nation what talks took place. On one hand, you get miffed and cancel talks after Pakistan invites separatists on a tea party, and on the other hand, you make a dramatic visit breaching all protocols,” he said.

In December 2015, PM Modi’s spontaneous decision to “drop by” Lahore to extend courtesies to Nawaz Sharif on his birthday drew criticism from opposition parties. PM Modi was on his way to Delhi after a day-long trip today to Afghanistan.