New Delhi: The tragedy at Galwan Valley that claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers kept Twitter preoccupied Wednesday.
While condolences for the martyrs poured in from every field, the conspicuous absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was noted by many.
However, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was out there with a salute to the valour of the dead soldiers.
The loss of soldiers in Galwan is deeply disturbing and painful. Our soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 17, 2020
BJP President J.P. Nadda also came out to reassure everyone about the decisive leadership of PM Modi. Got it.
We have lost our brave army men. I pay homage to them.
I can assure you that under the leadership of PM Modi, India's territorial integrity will not be compromised. We now have the political will & our army is fully equipped to take any adversary.
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) June 16, 2020
Congress’ Rahul Gandhi has a few more ‘silent’ questions for the PM.
Why is the PM silent?
Why is he hiding?
Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened.
How dare China kill our soldiers?
How dare they take our land?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 17, 2020
TMC MP Mahua Moitra is more scathing in her enquiry on the PM’s silence.
Incredible how BJP won 2019 by tomtomming “surgical strikes” of which we never saw any actual proof & now that 20 real faces of our dead soldiers stare at us, the PM is silent
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) June 16, 2020
Ditto Congress leader P Chidambaram.
We have seen the official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs that says nothing new after the news broke out at 12.52 pm today thanks to an Army WhatsApp group.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 16, 2020
After questions, came the suggestions. Here is former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, perhaps more sarcastic than realistic.
How about a surgical air strike in Tibet on Chinese troop establishments to avenge the death of our 20 brave jawans including a commanding officer? After all our motto is 'ghar me ghus kar marenge'. Or is all our bravado only for Pakistan?
— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) June 17, 2020
Straight shooter Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh minces no words.
The happening in the #Galwanvalley is a continuation of violations by China. It is time now that the country stands up to these incursions. Our soldiers are not fair game that every few days officers and men are being killed and injured defending our borders. (1/2)
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) June 16, 2020
Tributes poured in for the fallen soldiers across party lines. From BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra to NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and DMK’s M K Stalin.
It’s excruciatingly saddening to learn of the Indian Soldiers who attained Martyrdom protecting their motherland.
May they be at peace 🙏
ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्ति।
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) June 16, 2020
Our army officers and jawans have lost their lives while protecting our Nation from Chinese incursions in the Galwan Valley, Ladakh. May they Rest in Peace. Our armed forces will protect our borders with courage and determination.
Heartfelt Condolences 🙏🏻
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) June 16, 2020
I salute the valour of the three Indian soldiers who were martyred at #GalwanValley while performing a supreme service for the nation. My heart goes out to the families of these brave men. May lord give them strength in this difficult time.
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 16, 2020
#Ladakh-ல் நடந்துவரும் மோதலில் இன்னுயிர் ஈந்த இந்திய இராணுவ வீரர்கள் மூவரின் தியாகத்துக்கு வீரவணக்கம்!
22 ஆண்டுகளாக ராணுவத்தில் பணியாற்றி,தனது உயிரையும் ஈந்துள்ள இராமநாதபுரம் மாவட்டம் கடுக்கலூர் கிராமத்தைச் சேர்ந்த பழனி அவர்களின் குடும்பத்துக்கு ஆறுதலைத் தெரிவித்துக் கொள்கிறேன்! pic.twitter.com/1wCETxxUC2
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) June 16, 2020
And here is Congress’ solidarity message.
The anguish felt by every Indian today is inexplicable. We salute the brave hearts who were martyred while protecting our borders & our land. Our thoughts & prayers are with their families as they cope with this grief. Jai Hind. https://t.co/WdfZ4JrJzH
— Congress (@INCIndia) June 17, 2020
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav urges some truth-telling.
चीन के साथ झड़प में हमारे देश के अनेक जवानों के शहीद होने की ख़बर हर देशवासी को दहलानेवाली है. शहादत को सलाम.
सरकार अब तो सच बोले.
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) June 16, 2020
Former Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Menon Rao sheds light on China’s diplomatic guerilla warfare and double speak.
The official #PLA statement on the tragic #Galwan face-off is worth scrutiny: it refers to the Galwan Valley as being “on the China-Indian border” and that the Indian Army “crossed” the #LAC and “violated their commitments”. 1/n
— Nirupama Menon Rao, निरुपमा राउ, بینظیر (@NMenonRao) June 16, 2020
Some Army veterans are unhappy with the ruling government’s actions.
Here’s, veteran Anil Duhoon.
In one week, we had casualties at Pak, Nepal and China borders.
As a retired Army Officer I am feeling hollowness inside me when I see how badly @BJP4India has degraded defence forces.
— Lt Col Anil Duhoon (Veteran) (@anilduhoon) June 16, 2020
And Birender Dhanoa on how the government has failed the Indian Army at Galwan.
It is a sad day when you realise that you’ve sent troops into harm’s way with not even the ability to open fire in self defence. Even UN peacekeeping Chapter VI rules of engagement permit troops to open fire to protect themselves.
— Birender Dhanoa (@bsdhanoa) June 16, 2020
UN Director of Crisis Group Richard Gowen comments on the clash and India’s chances in the UN Security Council elections, where it is vying for a non-permanent seat.
This news comes one day before India runs (unopposed) for an Asian seat on the @UN Security Council. Could foreshadow some pretty tense UNSC diplomacy ahead, both before and after India takes up its seat… https://t.co/dVP8zPzWii
— Richard Gowan (@RichardGowan1) June 16, 2020
Michael Kugelman, an associate at The Wilson Centre, comments on PM Modi’s AWOL act.
Unless I missed it, Prime Minister Modi has not said one word publicly about the 20 Indian soldiers that lost their lives in the Galwan Valley. No statement, no address to the nation, and not even a tweet about it. This is monumentally surprising.
— Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) June 17, 2020
Meanwhile Alyssa Ayres of the Council on Foreign Relations, a foriegn police forum, has a word of advice for the US.
If there is one lesson for the US to draw from this: it is that the India-China border needs to be on the US foreign policy radar screen as a frontline for Chinese assertiveness. Frontline.
South Asia is a vital and central part of the Indo-Pacific, not a sideline. https://t.co/rlGVpiQqfO
— 𝚊𝚕𝚢𝚜𝚜𝚊 𝚊𝚢𝚛𝚎𝚜🦌 (@AyresAlyssa) June 16, 2020
Filmmaker Pritish Nandy highlights the crises in India at the moment, from Covid-19 to Chinese incursions to the failing economy. Phew!
The problem with the Chinese incursions is the same as that with the pandemic and, prior to that, the state of the economy. We start with denial and by the time we admit what is really happening, things have spun out of control.
— Pritish Nandy (@PritishNandy) June 17, 2020
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan echoes Nandy.
Covid cases rising steeply; China occupying our territory;relations with Nepal in Shambles;Economy in ICU;14Cr families w/o jobs & destitute; Parliament, Judiciary, all institutions in Lockdown; Govt paralysed; India adrift;PM silent. We have an unprecedented crisis of leadership
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) June 16, 2020
Industrialist Anand Mahindra is struck by the courage and composure of martyr Col B. Santosh Babu’s family.
Watched the parents of martyred Col. Babu being interviewed on TV channels. I was struck by their composure, courage & pride. If this steel spine runs through all parents of our armed forces personnel, then our adversaries should recognise they are up against an unyielding force.
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) June 17, 2020
Times Now Editor-in-Chief Rahul Shivshankar gets into a spat with former diplomat and strategic affairs expert K.C. Singh after the latter’s ‘virtual’ walk-out of the TV debate.
Just left @TimesNow debate without speaking as one saw an ambush set up to attack Col Ajay Shukla, because he has been revealing info not shared by Gov/army. Pathetic show @RShivshankar, I’m glad I walked off.
— K. C. Singh (@ambkcsingh) June 16, 2020
And finally, Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha gives China a befitting reply.
चीन के अंत की कहानी भारत लिखेगा।
— Prof Rakesh Sinha (@RakeshSinha01) June 16, 2020
With inputs from Revathi Krishnan