Sunday, 3 July, 2022
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Congress and BJP both want action against China incursions, but only when in opposition

Both BJP and Congress demand action against China’s intrusions while in opposition, but seem to play them down when in office.

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New Delhi: The death of 20 Indian soldiers in a face-off with the Chinese army in eastern Ladakh has brought out what has always been an open secret: That the Congress and the BJP’s stands on border transgressions by the Chinese depend on whether they are in power or out of it.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday issued a stern warning to China, saying the sacrifice of the soldiers “will not go in vain” and India wants peace but it is capable to give a befitting reply if provoked”. 

The PM’s statement followed strong criticism from the Congress over his “silence” on the border stand-off and their demands for an explanation about the Chinese intrusions. The same Congress was, however, singing a different tune when India and China had a three-week-long stand-off at Depsang in eastern Ladakh in 2013 during the UPA tenure. But that holds equally true for BJP leaders, too.

Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat then, and other BJP leaders had taken a combative position against the then UPA regime when, in April 2013, Chinese forces crossed into Indian territory and pitched their tents to assert control over the Depsang plain in eastern Ladakh. The stand-off had created military and diplomatic tensions but was resolved after a heavy round of negotiations, following which the Chinese troops withdrew.

Also Read: Remember Vajpayee-Nehru episode? That is why Congress must let Modi off the hook on China

‘Silently watching’

In August 2013, months after the Depsang incident was resolved, Modi had hit out at the Congress for “silently watching” as the Chinese entered Indian territory.


In May 2013, he had put out a tweet questioning India’s decision to retreat from the stand-off area after the dispute had been resolved.

At his first rally as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in September 2013, Modi had again questioned those in power in Delhi. “Even China has started challenging us on our borders. This is not because our soldiers are weak, but because of problems in Delhi. We need to change the government at Delhi,” he had said.

These statements have begun doing the rounds again now that it’s the BJP in power and the Chinese are up to their tricks again.

Congress working president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who were silent during the Depsang episode, are aggressively demanding answers from PM Modi.

Rahul Gandhi, for one, has questioned why the PM is “silent”.

He has also hit out at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s tweet extending condolences to the family of the soldiers killed, questioning its language and timing.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, has asked PM Modi to brief the nation on the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“Today when in India there is great anguish, the Prime Minister should come forward and explain to the nation how China was able to capture India’s soil and why 20 Indian soldiers were martyred,” she said in a video message issued Wednesday.

Back in 2013, however, the Congress was seen as trying to play down the gravity of the situation. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had termed the incursion by the Chinese troops as a “localised problem”.

He had also maintained that India does not want to “accentuate” the situation.

The then external affairs minister Salman Khurshid had described the dispute as “acne” that could be addressed “by simply applying an ointment”.

“One little spot is acne, which cannot force you to say that this is not a beautiful face… that acne can be addressed by simply applying an ointment,” he had said.

The then foreign ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had stated that “diplomacy requires time and space”.

Also Read: Ladakh shows Modi is risking relations with China by getting too close to Trump

‘Doing nothing’

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, too, had hit out at the then Congress-led government in 2013, saying they were “doing nothing” even as the Chinese had a “picnic inside our territory”.

Shah was then yet to assume charge as BJP president, a position he served for six years from 2014 to 2020.

At a rally in 2013, senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh said the ruling government didn’t care about the respect and honour of the country as they had done nothing to counter the Chinese.

Cheen hamare desh ki dharti mei ghus aaye, mahino tak jamein rahe, usko javab dene ki himmat nahi hui. Haath par haath dhare yeh baithe rahe, bharat ki maan samman swabhiman ki chinta nahi hai,” Singh had said.

Singh had also hit out at the then Prime Minister, saying he didn’t have courage. He also sought to urge the Congress to give a free hand to the Army. 

Aapke kaleje mein dam nahi, hamare sena ke javaano ka ek baar khula haath chodh do, dekho woh kaisa karishma karte hain,” Singh had said.

Seven years later, as Defence Minister himself, Singh has maintained that the issue can be resolved diplomatically via talks and that details of the standoff would be revealed at an “appropriate time”.

Changing tunes

In a tweet Wednesday, BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya said that “there is no intrusion or occupation of Indian territory”, and that “China is unnerved by the massive ramp-up in critical infra on the Indian side”.

Back in 2013, though, Malviya had asked the Prime Minister’s Office to “wake up” to the Chinese intrusion.

Meanwhile, Tejasvi Surya, now a BJP MP, questioned the “manliness” of Congress leader Salman Khurshid in a 2014 tweet that referred to the Chinese incursion.

Also Read: Time for Modi to take political stand on China. Military talks won’t deter the bully


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  1. I do not know much of politics so please forgive me if you find my concerns naïve. I do understand that the current menaces over border conflicts were due from our neighbour in the north since Oct 2019 when Ladakh was declared union territory and, as Mr. Gupta already mentioned in one of his “Cut the clutter” episodes, they were expected to annoy India soon after the winter gets over. Is it possible that these disturbances on the border are created to distract the government from certain other issues and keep them occupied? If it is true then what can those issues be? Also, is it possible that their investments in the funds of our big political parties impair the response from the Indian government?

  2. Only those who are in charge will know how much the burden of government is. Others will not know the hardships. But as an observer, we talk big.

  3. Nicely Done… Pointing out the hypocrisy of our damn political parties. This exactly why we are not a successful nation. There is really no consensus or strategy when it comes to foreign policy. They always try to score political points. Childish and immature.

  4. At least have some shame Fatima, 20 soldiers have been martyred. Though they fought bravely, it shame people want to play politics on their death.

  5. It becomes clear who are the paid China voices in Indian media. These are the termites – Congress Party & The Print.

  6. The vultures of proselytizers are out to attack BJP AND pro INDIA FORCES as they see their anti HINDU STANCE might get a Phillip with aggression from both china and pakistan . Rest assured that HINDUS will WIN against all your nefarious design.

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