New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s criticism of the government’s foreign policy is “purely a political message” not a policy one, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

In a video message delivered in Punjabi ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls, Singh said the government has proved to be a “complete failure” on the foreign policy front.

The senior Congress leader also alleged that the Chinese soldiers have been occupying “our pious land since the last one year but efforts are being made to suppress this issue”.

Asked about Singh’s remarks criticising the government on foreign policy, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “from my perspective, this is purely or clearly a political message, not a policy one. So I think from my position here I would not like to get into that.”

“As regards to China, the facts of the matter are clear, I don’t need to reiterate them. We have been discussing the processes of the conversation with China and how the situation has arisen…I think repeatedly we have said that. On the other issues, as I said, a political message clearly not a policy one, so I don’t think I should dwell more into that,” he said.

In his remarks, Singh said, “old friends are constantly alienating from us, while our relations with neighbouring countries are also deteriorating”.

“I hope that by now the ruling dispensation would have realised that relations between countries do not improve by forcefully embracing leaders, playing on a swing with them or going uninvited to have biryani,” he said, in an obvious reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharing a traditional swing with Chinese president Xi Jinping during the latter’s 2014 India visit and his sudden Lahore visit to meet then Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2015.

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