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Jairam Ramesh faces backlash for comparing 'non-biological' PM's Russia visit to Rahul Gandhi's Manipur trip

As PM Modi embarked on his visit to Russia on Monday, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh raised questions regarding the state of Indo-Russian relations, emphasizing concerns over trade deficits and youth recruitment.

Jairam Ramesh faces backlash for comparing 'non-biological' PM's Russia visit to Rahul Gandhi's Manipur trip snt
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First Published Jul 8, 2024, 2:05 PM IST

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on his visit to Russia on Monday, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh raised questions regarding the state of Indo-Russian relations, emphasizing concerns over trade deficits and youth recruitment. He also drew comparisons with 'non-biological' PM's visit to Moscow, while Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi heads for his third visit to violence-hit Manipur

In an interview with ANI, Ramesh highlighted the frequent meetings between former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Russian leaders, contrasting them with the current frequency of interactions between 'non-biological' PM Modi and President Vladimir Putin.

Also read: PM Modi leaves for Russia visit, says look forward to reviewing bilateral ties with 'friend' Putin (WATCH)

"I have raised three questions to the non-biological PM. Dr Manmohan Singh and Putin and the Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev had met 16 times in 10 years. Putin and Modi have met 11 times. So does this mean some cooling of relations between Russia and India? That's the first question," the Congress leader said.

He further criticized the substantial trade imbalance between the two countries, noting that while India imports nearly $46 billion worth of goods from Russia annually, its exports amount to only about $3.5 billion.

"Our imports from Russia are almost $46 billion. Our exports to Russia are hardly about $3.5 billion. This is a completely unsustainable trade deficit. So what is the non-biological PM doing? Will he raise the issue of this unsustainable trade deficit which is hurting our industry, which is hurting our trade?" Ramesh said.

The Congress MP also expressed alarm over reports of Indian youths allegedly joining the Russian military, citing instances where some have reportedly lost their lives.

"Most important issue is that 50 Indian youths are fighting in the Russian army. It means there are no jobs here. They are desperate, they are looking for jobs and they have to go and become Agniveers for Russia. And two of them have died. So who is recruiting them? Which is this contractor? What are its political links? We can't give jobs to our youth. So will the non-biological PM raise this issue with Putin?" Ramesh remarked.

In a post on X, Jairam Ramesh also criticized PM Modi's Moscow visit, contrasting it with Rahul Gandhi's ongoing engagement in Assam and Manipur. Ramesh highlighted the irony of Modi's international trips, noting the Prime Minister's claim of temporarily halting the Russia-Ukraine war, while pointing out Modi's absence in Manipur during its crisis.

"Today, the non-biological PM goes to Moscow while the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha heads for Assam and Manipur. Of course, the drumbeaters of the non-biological PM have claimed that he stopped the Russia-Ukraine war for some time. Presumably, this Moscow trip will lead to even more bizarre claims. This is Rahul Gandhi's third visit to Manipur ever since the state blew up fourteen months ago. The non-biological PM has not found the time nor even had the inclination to visit Manipur even for a few hours after the grave crisis erupted on May 3rd, 2023. He has not even met the CM of the state - who happens to be from his own party - and other political leaders of the state including MLAs and MPs," the Congress MP said in an X post.

He further told ANI, "This is the third visit of Rahul Gandhi to show people in a sensitive way that your pain is our pain... The Supreme Court has said that the constitutional machinery, the constitutional system, has collapsed there and we cannot trust the state government. This is what the Supreme Court said, these are their comments."

Reacting sharply to Ramesh's post, BJP's Amit Malviya said, "The ethnic conflict in Manipur is a legacy of the Congress party. The State has witnessed killing of civilians, police and Army personnel for decades, while Congress was in power. In 1990, 300 people were killed. 1100 people died in 1993 400 were killed in 1997 In 2001, 95 people died 140 people were killed in 2003 In 2006, 105 people died 200 people were killed in 2008 In 2010, 220 people died and 165 people died in 2012. Forget Third Time Fail Rahul Gandhi, did any Congress leader, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was a member of Rajya Sabha from Assam, visit the strife torn region. Balak Buddhi is simply indulging in sick tragedy tourism."

The Congress leader's recent remarks has sparked a massive social media outburst, with several netizens questioning Ramesh for slamming 'non-biological' PM's Russia visit. Here's a look at some of the reactions to Ramesh's recent remarks drawing comparisons between PM Modi's Moscow visit to Rahul Gandhi's visit to Manipur:

Earlier today, PM Modi, in his departure statement, emphasized India's commitment to enhancing bilateral ties with Russia across various sectors, including trade, energy, and defence. He underscored India's role in fostering a peaceful and stable regional environment, aligning with broader global interests.

"The special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has advanced over the past 10 years, including in areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges," Modi said in his departure statement.

"I look forward to reviewing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend President Vladimir Putin and sharing perspectives on various regional and global issues," he said.

"We seek to play a supportive role for a peaceful and stable region," he said without making any specific references.

Also read: Modi's Investment in Pezeshkian's Iran: The Strategic Importance of Chabahar Port

PM Modi is embarking on his first visit to Russia since 2019, marking a significant diplomatic step amidst the backdrop of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

Following his engagements in Russia, Modi will make a historic trip to Austria, the first by an Indian prime minister in over four decades.

During the 22nd India-Russia annual summit on Tuesday, Modi and President Vladimir Putin are expected to discuss strategies for enhancing bilateral ties across sectors such as trade, energy, and defence, aiming to strengthen their longstanding partnership.

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