Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also likely to attend the event
In a bid to expand his outreach to the diplomatic community, Congress President Rahul Gandhi will hold a lunch meeting with diplomats, ambassadors and high commissioners of various countries, according to a report by The Indian Express.
Quoting sources, the report states that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also likely to attend the event.
According to the report, many diplomats had expressed their interest in meeting the Congress chief in order to assess his "foreign policy approach". The report states that requests from officials were being made to Gandhi over the past couple of weeks, and both were keen to wrap up the meeting before the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) kicks in.
Many foreign diplomats, according to the report, were concerned about how their meeting would be perceived by the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
"It is going to be an interactive session, since many are interested in knowing his foreign policy mind," sources told the newspaper.
According to the report, Gandhi is likely to make a few opening remarks during the meeting and would answer the questions posed by diplomats.
A diplomat quoted by the newspaper said it is not unusual for foreign officials to meet Opposition leaders. "The European ambassadors, led by then German envoy Michael Steiner, had hosted then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in 2013 for a lunch meeting at the German ambassador’s residence in Chanakyapuri," the diplomat said.
According to the report, Gandhi's recent stands on certain issues, including the Rafale deal, had caused discontent within the foreign diplomatic corps stationed in India. The French government had also responded in an official statement to Gandhi's charge in July.
According to the report, the diplomats would report Gandhi's stance back to their capitals."Our capitals are very keen to know about his views on specific issues on foreign policy. While we follow his comments on the domestic political issues, we would really like to understand his worldview in such a turbulent time," a diplomat told the newspaper.