New Delhi: Indian and Chinese military commanders held a marathon meeting Tuesday, and prime time was all about the stand-off between the two countries.
Almost all claimed to have exclusive information about the meeting, but none of them really did.
There was also some news on the coronavirus front, with both the NDTV channels choosing to move away from the India-China war talks to focus on how there is a very real Covid-19 crisis in Delhi.
On News18 India, anchor Amish Devgan promised exclusive news — “Galwan ghati mein China ke pitne ki poori kahani bataaonga” (Will tell you the whole tale of China being beaten up in Galwan Valley).
However, he then deflected from his own promise, and predictably pounced on the Opposition instead, “Ek taraf se sena ki shaurya ki katha hai toh doosri taraf siyasat bhi khul kar ho rahi hai. Rahul Gandhi ne khul kar Modi ko surrender Modi kaha.” (On one hand there are tales of our brave soldiers, on the other Rahul Gandhi called Modi `Surender Modi’).?
Devgan’s subsequent debate was rather pointless — “Backfoot par China hai toh frontfoot par siyasat hai,” (China’s on the front foot and the Opposition is on the Backfoot). Can we move on please?
Anchor Sudhir Chaudhary expressed his reservations about talks with China on Zee News, “Baat cheet mai jo bhi taye hota hai woh China palan nahi karta hai,” (Whatever is decided during meetings, China doesn’t abide by it). But he did not have any other suggestions to offer.
Chaudhary also said that the meeting between Indian and Chinese military was initiated by the Chinese, “China jo ajeeb se nashe mein rehta tha, jisko vishwas tha ki army badi hai. Par ab woh hi baat cheet ki request kar raha hai,” (China, which is on an odd high and believed that it had the larger army, has now requested a dialogue).
In a rather convenient analysis, Chaudhary said, “China samajh gaya ki Bharat, China ke sainik ki kya haal kar sakte hai,” (China understood what Indian soldiers can do to their soldiers). This is a reference to unverified videos circulated across news channels showing troops fighting.
ABP News’ Rubika Liyaquat brought out the irony in China calling the meeting, “Ek taraf China ne baithak bulayi hai, aur doosri taraf apne propaganda machinery ke zariye yudh ki dhamki di hai,” (On one hand, China has called for a meeting, on the other hand it is using its propaganda machinery to threaten India).
Liyaquat continued, “China ke sarkar ka mouthpiece, Global Times ne kaha hai ki agar Bharat ne yudh ki galti ki toh usse 1962 se 5 guna zyaada apmanit hona padega,” (The Chinese government’s mouthpiece Global Times has threatened that if India makes the mistake of a war then they will have to feel five times more embarrassed as compared to the 1962 war).
Then she came to her main point: “Bhale hi China mein sainik zyaada ho, par India ke paas Ladakh mein ladne ka jazbaa aur experience kaafi hai,” (Even though China has more troops, India has more experience and rigour). Good thinking.
On #ChinaIndiaFaceOff in India Today, Rajdeep Sardesai asked if China was preparing for war with India or simply just putting pressure?
Brahma Chellaney, a strategic affairs expert, said, “We should not ignore the possibility of China seeking to teach India a lesson…. they are in no mood to withdraw from the newly encroached areas.”
Sardesai then asked former diplomat Kanwal Sibal about India’s options and if Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Russia would help — “Can we use our alliance with the United States and the bonhomie with the Trump administration in any way?
To which Sibal had a straight flat answer, “No, not really.” Oh boy.
Onto the coronavirus, just in case you lost sight of it in the war clouds: Anchor Sreenivasan Jain questioned if there was a “collapse of contact tracing in Delhi” on NDTV 24×7. He noted that when the Tablighi Jamaat cluster first broke out, the contact tracing in the national capital was extremely intense. “Look at the change then and now,” he said as he walked around Delhi.
AAP MLA Raghav Chadha got technical and distinguished between the qualitative and quantitative aspect of contact tracing, and said, “The efficacy of our contact tracing mechanism has not been able to commiserate with the rapid increase in the number of positive cases.”
Jain went onto underscore that on the ground it seems as though contact tracing has stopped. He said, “Everyone who knows someone who is Covid-19 positive including myself…. if you talk to them they will virtually tell you there is no contact tracing.”
If NDTV was questioning contact tracing, Padmaja Joshi on Times Now, moved on to another burning matter — the Supreme Court allowing the Jagannath Yatra this year in Odisha, with certain restrictions. She asked if politics was being given precedence over public health.
Aftab Hossen, who was one of the petitioners in favour of the Rath Yatra, said, “There was a conspiracy to stall Puri Rath Yatra by few people.”
Josh asked, “I want to understand this, even today The Supreme Court has said if you think things are going out of hand then you can stop the yatra. You think that is practical? To allow the yatra to happen and then mid-way if things are going haywire to stop the yatra?”
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