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Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is slated to brief members of a Parliamentary standing committee on India-China ties in the wake of their military stand-off in Doklam on Tuesday. Opposition parties have also demanded discussion on the issue in both Houses during the monsoon session of Parliament that kicked off today.
According to sources, the Ministry of External Affairs officials were to brief members of the parliamentary standing committee on external affairs on the subject of changes in global diplomacy after during US President Donald Trump's tenure. But the committee, which Congress' Shashi Tharoor heads, insisted the Foreign Secretary should instead brief them on Doklam stand-off.
Members of the 31-member committee include Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party's Varun Gandhi, Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Mohammed Salim and Sugata Bose of Trinamool Congress.
The Trinamool Congress has also moved a notice under rule 267 in Rajya Sabha to demand a discussion on India-China ties on a priority and suspend all other business. The Congress has demanded a discussion on cow vigilantism and mob lynchings.
It is likely that agrarian distress might come up for discussion in the two Houses with several farmer organisations gathering at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar after a fortnight long journey from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh to the national capital. The organisations are in New Delhi to highlight agrarian distress, farmer suicides and the killing of six farmers in police firing in Mandsaur on June 6. Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief Sitaram Yechury said his party's members would join the protest.
Today at the start of the monsoon session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoped the "growing stronger together" spirit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will bring enthusiasm to Parliament proceedings
"Today the Monsoon session begins. After summer, the advent of rain brings in a fresh pleasant smell in the soil. Similarly, the Monsoon session will bring in a new spirit after the successful implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)," he said.
The PM said the session was very significant. "On August 15, we will complete seven decades of our Independence. On August 9, which comes in the midst of the session, the Quit India Movement turns 75 years," he said.
Aware that the Opposition was set to raise the issue of agrarian distress, the PM said: "As the Monsoon session of Parliament gets underway, we salute our farmers who have been ensuring food security for the country with their hard work. This session begins by remembering those farmers."
In the Lok Sabha, the PM walked up to senior opposition leaders before the proceedings started. Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar greeted leaders from various parties in the opposition benches, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah.
Abdullah took oath as Lok Sabha member today after winning the Srinagar bypoll recently.