New Delhi: Union minister Mahesh Sharma on Wednesday said that his visit to China was for an international event and not for a bilateral meeting, days after Rahul Gandhi raised questions over union ministers going to that country amid the border tension.
The Union culture and tourism minister, addressing a press conference during which announced about the 8th Theatre Olympics in India, also said that he had gone to China with the government's approval.
"It was an international forum of BRICS countries. It was not a bilateral meeting and all five countries which participated did so with the approval of their respective governments as did India. They (the Chinese) welcomed us warmly," he said when asked about his reaction on Rahul's allegations that union ministers were enjoying Chinese hospitality at a time when border skirmishes continued.
"The issue (at the border) that you are raising concerns the ministry of home affairs, defence and external affairs. I can assure him (Rahul) that I had gone to China with the approval of the government," Sharma added.
Rahul, who had come under fire after his meeting with Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui had asked through tweets why three union ministers were availing Chinese hospitality while tension along the border was on.
"If government is so concerned about me meeting an Ambassador, they should explain why three ministers are availing Chinese hospitality while the border issue is on," the Congress vice president had tweeted.
Rahul was referring to the visits of three union ministers to China amid escalation of the standoff around Dokalam area in Sikkim - Union Human Resource Minister Prakash Javdekar who was in Beijing to attend the 5th meeting of BRICS education ministers, Health Minister J P Nadda who participated in BRICS Health Ministers' conference and Sharma who was there to participate in the second BRICS Culture Ministers' Conference.