Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches the auction process of coal blocks for commercial mining in New Delhi Thursday. | PTI
File photo | Prime Minister Narendra Modi | PTI
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It hasn’t been clear this past week whether the BJP-led government is fighting China on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, fighting the Congress party, or even its own ambassador in China, Vikram Misri.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann ki Baat address Sunday warned all those thinking of casting “an evil eye on Indian soil in Ladakh” and said that they would get a “befitting response”. Burnt by his remarks at the June 19 all-party meeting, when he said that “no one entered Indian territory no Indian posts were taken over”, Modi steered clear of any updates on whether the Chinese had been evicted yet, and if not, what India was planning to do. Now, the PM has announced a speech at 4 pm Tuesday.

But for the first time in months, as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi found a chink in the PM’s armour on his remarks on the Chinese intrusions, an unsavoury political slugfest broke out in Delhi.

The BJP fielded its own party president, J.P. Nadda, to attack the Sonia Gandhi-led think-tank, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, for allegedly receiving contributions from the Chinese. The Congress hit back, accusing the PM of receiving crores of rupees in the PM Cares fund from all kinds of Chinese companies, including Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo.

This is a dangerous situation. How can a politically united India fight the enemy at the gates if it is divided within? This must be a dream come true for the Xi Jinping-led leadership in Beijing – as it eats up a few square kilometres of Indian territory, unmarked and undemarcated, with not a blade of grass growing anywhere. Xi has been rewarded by the impression that India is fighting itself, not the Chinese.


Also read: India must believe threat of war is real, even if Chinese build-up is coercive diplomacy


The in-fighting

We’ve seen this before, of course. The battles at Plassey, Buxar, Seringapatam, to name a few – the country has been littered with the carcasses of Indians fighting Indians rather than the imperial invader — then, the East India Company.

Certainly, the BJP as well as the Congress have their reasons not to trust each other. Sonia Gandhi’s ‘maut ka saudagar taunt for Narendra Modi during the 2007 assembly elections in Gujarat probably still rings in the PM’s ears. Modi has returned the compliment, asking in December 2018, “Yeh Congress ki kaun si vidhwa thi, jiske khaate main rupaya jaata tha?”

How do you trust each other when you’re continuously spitting at each other?

The following anecdote, once told to me by Russia’s former ambassador to India Vyacheslav Trubnikov, a former spy who came to the country as a Tass correspondent in the 1970s, bears retelling. Trubnikov saw CPM leader Jyotirmoy Basu and Jana Sangh leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee emerge from Parliament one day, laughing, when only moments before they had been sparring inside the House; mystified, he went up to them and pointed out that this would never happen in the Soviet Union, one of them would have ended up in the Gulag. At which point one of the Indian leaders told Trubnikov: That’s why India doesn’t have a Gulag.

Fifty years later, Congressmen and BJPwallahs cannot bear to break bread with each other – indeed, they are afraid to do it, for fear they will be reported to their respective leaderships. Their political enmity is beginning to hurt national cohesion.


Also read: Why the LAC clash with China won’t upset Modi’s political math


The Indian ambassador to China

And then there was the matter this past week of three tweets issued by the Press Trust of India (PTI), on an interview its Beijing correspondent did with India’s ambassador to China Vikram Misri. Now Misri is one of India’s ablest diplomats, having served in several tight spots, including Pakistan and as an aide to former PM I.K. Gujral – he certainly understands the nature of the shifting political wind.

Misri did the interview with PTI — in the wake of PTI’s controversial interview with China’s ambassador to India Sun Weidong who claimed the Galwan Valley and acknowledged, for the first time, that China had suffered casualties in the 15 June Ladakh clash in which 20 Indian soldiers died — and PTI duly tweeted its contents.

Remember, though, the red line drawn by the Prime Minister two weeks ago, saying that “no one entered Indian territory, nor were any posts taken over”? Some of what Misri told PTI fell foul of that red line.

One PTI tweet at 8 pm on 26 June said, “One way to stop (m)ilitary standoff along LAC is for China to stop erecting new structures: Indian envoy to PTI”. It was deleted by PTI. It cannot be found on its Twitter feed, but here is a screenshot:

The deleted PTI tweet

A second tweet that said, “China has to stop the practice of transgressing and trying to erect structures on the Indian side of the LAC: Indian envoy to China,” still exists on the PTI Twitter feed. It was tweeted at 8:39 pm on 26 June.

But there is no record of this tweet either on Misri’s own Twitter handle, or the Embassy of India in Beijing Twitter handle, or in the Ministry of External Affairs’ statement that was subsequently issued.

And then there’s a third PTI tweet, at 8:45 pm on the same day, which said, “India hopes China will realise its responsibility in de-escalation and disengaging by moving back to its side of LAC: Indian envoy to China.”

This tweet has been truncated by Misri’s Twitter handle, at 10.32 pm, to read as follows: “We hope that the Chinese side will realise its responsibility in de-escalation and disengagement.”

The full text of the Vikram Misri interview to PTI omits all the parts stated above. It is as if they were never said.


Also read: Prasar Bharati shames founding ideals by asking PTI to put nationalism ahead of journalism


The Vajpayee way

One wonders what’s going on in South Block. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, a former diplomat who has also served as India’s very able ambassador to China, knows the lay of the land exactly, both in Beijing and in Delhi. It seems he is only allowing one part of the truth to see the light of day.

In times of conflict, such as this one, a country looks for accurate and unbiased information. Kargil was a perfect example. Victory over the enemy, Pakistan, was presided over by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who hewed the political class together in service of one goal. It was a significant input in winning the war.

Today, everyone knows the Chinese have intruded into Indian territory – with Google satellite images one finger click away, there’s no point in hiding the truth. Perhaps, PM Modi should take a deep breath and share the measure of the damage with the country. Calling the media “anti-national”, as PTI was recently, and attacking the opposition, is hardly the way to start.

Views are personal.

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34 Comments Share Your Views

34 COMMENTS

  1. I think the reporter have got the dues of her views from the commentators. However, if still felt less it must be made clear to her that what she refers to as opposition perhaps does not know that it is writing it’s own obituary through its last badsha with the aid and advice of a group of jesters. It is only a matter of time.

  2. The author should not equate Congress and BJP. One stands for liberal democracy, the other for Hindu fascism. If Sonia said maut ki saudagar, she was right. Modi organised a genocide and should never have been able to contest.

    The author is correct ‘We’ve seen this before, of course. The battles at Plassey, Buxar, Seringapatam, to name a few – the country has been littered with the carcasses of Indians fighting Indians rather than the imperial invader — then, the East India Company.’

    I see that happening before our eyes – Congress won as our freedom, but the Hindu communalists are disintegrating India by creating internal enemity. The past 6 years was that – lynchings, beating up journalists, students, women, and minorities, and CAA, NRC. Hence, the BJP divided the country as never before after 1947. On top of that Modi has had corrupt deals with Xi, allowing China to make inroads into controlling the Indian economy, in exchange for some investments in Gujarat. He has sold India for Gujarat. I would not be surprised of Xi did not contribute to Modi’s election campaign. Xi knows the amount of money the BJP spends for power, and he knows like the British before, the Hindu character, which can be bribed

  3. As citizens we stand together in tough times such as this. A true leader should take everyone together as well. A sign of a thriving democracy is the freedom which the media enjoys. When opposition is weak, media should act as the watchdog of democracy.

  4. The Journalist has been paid by China to publish this article to make it look like an infighting. Yellow journalism at its best. So shameless and bloody coward is The Print and is now shamelessly publishing it just to get readership. Shame on You, The Print. You are a coward and a traitor to India.

    • Every one knows the truth of Chinese occupation it’s on Google
      Blind and biased ignore the truth and call the messenger the traitor

  5. So long as Modi does not condone the corruption, and stop investigating the corrupt, forget about the political unity.
    Everyone under the investigation will make his cause with China to somehow hit back at Modi. It is sad day when the learned people want to brush under the carpet the realities. (1) China is not a new problem (2) China is like a bully in the class who will have to be tolerated as gracefully as possible and await your chance to get even. There are adversaries within who will make a common cause the China if that is the only way to survive politically or legally.
    So how can a politically united India fight the enemy at the gates if it is divided within?
    ONLY ONE WAY: WITHDRAW ALL THE CASES OF CORRUPTION AND STOP THE INVESTIGATION.
    THE RESULT OVERNIGHT WILL BE —- MODY, MODY, MODY, MODY form all pillars of democracy

  6. All Jyotis of print are just the opposite of Jyoti in literal sense.

    Articles are of dismal standards, mostly cabals peddled as journalism with ‘liberal bent’.

    No fact check, no verification just word of mouth and heresy.

    Cut the clutter says no intrusion she says intrusion as a matter of fact.

    At this point I at loss of words.

    The only thing going for her is she can speak English and creativity with words which is sufficient to qualify her as ‘liberal’.

    • Hindu communalists always have an inferiority complex about liberals. That is because your heads are filled with gobar.

  7. Print,
    Please edit/audit thoroughly before printing an article (even if it is of an author’s’ personal opinion).
    Else, credibility will be lost!!!

  8. “China has to stop the practice of transgressing and trying to erect structures on the Indian side of the LAC: Indian envoy to China,” Trying to Erect and ERected are not same.Opposition can ask specific questions in Parliament.

  9. As expected, Jyoti is measuring up to her ‘high’ standards as she writes “Today, everyone knows the Chinese have intruded into Indian territory – with Google satellite images one finger click away, there’s no point in hiding the truth. Perhaps, PM Modi should take a deep breath and share the measure of the damage with the country. “. If google can tell you the exact position, why does Jyoti need PM to repeat it? She can believe her eyes and the map!

    What is obvious is that she does not know (or want to know) the issue of Indo China border starting from McMohan line to 1962 to LAC to 2013. or difference between border post and patrolling post or ingress and transgress or difference between LOC and LAC. If she knew it, she would not have written this article and instead explained why government officials have to do this kind of tightrope walking on this issue.

    Let us accept that the map of India we know is not the territory held by India and agreed by our neighbors. In fact, with China, a huge portion of our claimed territory is gobbled up by China since 1949 onward. LAC is a matter of perception and claims beyond what is physically controlled by us.

    Jyoti, please keep cool, take deep breaths and allow PM and the army to their job.

  10. No one gives a rats ass what Rahul Gandhi or his Mother have to say. It is the Englais Media that does. I guess they are not over their colonial mind sets. They think that the only party that has the right to rule is the Congress Party? What this disproportionate coverage to a party that has barely 50 seats?

  11. I am a regular follower of the Print and also watch Shekar regularly. Did he not use the same Satellite images and say there has been no intrusion into Indian side of the LAC? Now we have Jyothi claims that any man with a computer can find out and tell that Chinese have intruded. This is a very strong claim. Does every one in the nation know where our boundary is? They are able to tell among the rugged mountain peaks where that invisible line goes? Come on let us be real. Without a fence I cannot even tell where my property ends, how am I supposed to tell where the borders of the nation are. We need to be a bit more responsible when we write an opinion piece. Most nations where borders are porous do not even care where that line is. Unless it goes through a very distinguishable land mark, one cannot tell. This is not to say Chinese have not intruded into a space that we think is ours. Hell all of that area we claim as ours. There is really no question of Chinese intrusion. It is just a matter of what is ok with us.

    • Lol ..your ignorance cracks me up ..that’s what we have gps coordinates for ..to tell exactly where borders start and end. And areas that were not even claimed by Chinese a few days ago are now firmly under their control and now they claim they entire Galwan valley which too they have never claimed before. But no keep defending this impotent government and keep saying to yourself “All is well”. Even international papers have reported how the Chinese engineers are manually diverting the Galwan River to claim even more land from India. But anyone in India darescreport this then they risk getting hit with lawsuits and loosing revenue and valued anti-national.

    • Lol ..your ignorance cracks me up ..that’s what we have gps coordinates for ..to tell exactly where borders start and end. And areas that were not even claimed by Chinese a few days ago are now firmly under their control and now they claim they entire Galwan valley which too they have never claimed before. But no keep defending this impotent government and keep saying to yourself “All is well”. Even international papers have reported how the Chinese engineers are manually diverting the Galwan River to claim even more land from India. But anyone in India dares report this then they risk getting hit with lawsuits and loosing revenue and called anti-national.

  12. Rahul Gandhi abusing the prime minister and army in the middle of a crisis by saying that we have surrendered was very mature. That’s the leadership Ms. Malhotra likes

    PTI being the mouthpiece of China’s communist party was free media and true journalism according to Ms Malhotra.

    Indians are pushovers and gullible who would read such articles and believe this nonsense, that’s what Ms Malhotra thinks .

    • It’s Amazing that every article which criticises the government or Modi has reactions from a paid army of BJP to deny everything and worse criticise and even abuse the author instead.

  13. In true democracies this kind of problems would be there. Till recently the opposition was saying that democracy is in danger with NDA in power. Now it is prooved that democracy is thriving in India.
    Excepting for this insignificant opposition the entire country is with the government and majority of countrymen are not influenced by the talks of some dissenting voices, which perhaps Xi Jinping also knows. Jai Hind.

  14. It is a trash of an article with jyoti malhotra not having an iota of an idea what is she writing. Its a wierd concoction of facts by her. It is people like her mindeset that we the people of India understand that what people like her are upto . Therefore the govt is fighting on two fronts external as well as internal perenial Opposers. Because these people are in a habbitual habbit of saying exact opposite of the PM. We know this from the days of surgical strikes and Balakot strike. These people have only one agenda to oppose Mr Modi on everything.

  15. Jyoti Basu was never a member of parliament, how come he’d spar with A. B. Vajpayee within the parliament. Also nobody can claim to have seen Jyoti Basu smiling, so when someone would say about seeing Jyoti Basu laugh, it becomes difficult to trust that report, even if it’s a generally a correct one.

  16. During kargil war sonia indulged in same rant . The same typical allegations of failure of govt and intelligence were labelled on vajpayee govt. The author memory is failing her. Go to archives.

  17. @Jyoti Malhotra Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jyoti Basu were never been a member of the same legislative assembly or parliament. So the author’s anecdotal story is actually her imagination having a flight of fancy.

    • The journalist should know that Jyoti Basu was never a Member of Parliament. However, there was a CPM MP by the name Jyotirmoy Basu. In an article like this the facts must be verified.

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