New Delhi | Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, has said he was concerned about the leak of the panel’s proceedings on the recent surgical strikes, an issue he said will be discussed at the next meeting.
He gave this information to nominated member of Rajya Sabha, Swapan Dasgupta, who had complained that the breach of confidentiality in committee proceedings were “wilfully and reckless violated” when media reported some of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s remarks on the strikes.
Tharoor said he shared his concern and would raise the issue at the next meeting.
Dasgupta had written to Tharoor saying that after a meeting of the committee last week several media houses had reported about Jaishanka’s remarks that the September 29 surgical strikes were not a first which he said amounted to a “tendentious spin” used by Congress for “partisan politics”.
Tharoor said he had offered to lift the confidentiality requirements for Jaishankar to allow him to clarify any misrepresentation of his views.
“I had also discussed the issue with Minister of External Affairs. Both EAM and FS replied that it was snot necessary and conveyed their wish not to change the existing policy on secrecy of proceedings,” he said.
Tharoor said that all members of the Committee have a duty to ensure trust and candour in the proceedings.
“I share your concern about the breach of confidentiality that has occurred… I will also raise the issue at our next meeting,” he said.
Tharoor reminded Dasgupta that he made it clear at the beginning and end of meeting that confidentiality must be maintained in order for the Committee to be effective in enacting its mandate.
Officials must be able to give testimony without fear of leaks, he said.
“Due to media’s evident interest, I had repeatedly stressed that our aim must not be to chase headlines, particularly with an issue as sensitive as Indo-Pak relations, but to initiate an in-depth examination of the subject that would culminate in a report some months later. It is with that assurance that we had conducted our meeting,” Tharoor said.