(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
“Eerie silence” at the disputed areas in Ladakh; but virtual barrage of “No Holds Barred Twitter War” by Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka Ghandy against Modi-led BJP. Accusing and finding fault with the Modi and his team over the present India-China armies clashes on the LAC has become the daily diet for the uncrowned empress of India, Sonia Ghandy, and the PM in waiting, Rahul Ghandy (RG).
India vs. China on one side; and Modi vs. Sonia and Rahul Ghandy, more aptly, the “Dynasty” on the other side are engaged in bitter twitter clash. Far easier to manage the border clashes between the PLA and the Indian Army and restoration of status quo ante; but most difficult to manage the internal conflicts as a result of war directed against Modi and the BJP. If one internal political charge is overcome, yet another breaks out.
China has only added fuel to the fire of vicious domestic politics when its foreign ministry claimed that the Galwan Valley was on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control. However, India dismissed China’s claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley, saying such “exaggerated” and “untenable” claims are contrary to the understanding reached during military dialogue on June 6.
As per US news and intelligence assessment, Gen. Zhao Zongqi, head of the Western Theatre Command, authorised his forces to attack Indian troops to “teach India a lesson” in the Galwan River valley resulting “in a brutal skirmish that killed dozens and dramatically escalated tensions between the two Asian powerhouses”.
The US assessment contradicts China’s subsequent assertions of June 15. And it indicates the deadly and contentious incident – in which at least 20 Indian and 35 Chinese troops died, and reportedly a handful on each side were captured and subsequently released – a purposeful decision by Beijing to send a message of strength to India. Yet that plan appears to have backfired, as the incident sparked widespread outrage in India that continues a week later. And Beijing’s attempts to make India more amenable to future negotiations, including about contested territory, instead appear to have pushed the economic giant closer to the U.S.
Never late than never, let me recall the agreements between India and China on the border issue to provide a balanced perspective: Signed agreements of 1993, 1996, 2003, 2005, etc on maintaining peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control.
In June 2003, Vajpayee and Premier Wen Jiabao signed a Declaration on Principles for Relations and Constructive Cooperation between our two countries. The third principle states: “The two countries are not a threat to each other. Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other.” This was more than reiterated in the agreement signed in April 2005 on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for settlement of the India China boundary question. Article 1 state, inter alia: “Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means.”
Abundantly clear are oft-repeated Chinese violations of various signed agreements at the highest level, and positions agreed by Xi at the informal Wuhan and Chennai summits in 2018 and 2019!
Thus, the barrage of “Twitter War” launched by the Congress Party clearly reflect heinous and hidden motive behind. It mercilessly exposes the ‘internal divide’ for adversaries to exploit for their advantage in the international forums to damage India’s image and credibility.
Be that as it may, the end objective or pursuit of mother-son duo is to somehow reclaim the lost power to the “Dynasty” by “hook or crook” to any issue that offers a “window of opportunity” to exploit to embarrass Modi-led BJP. So, their monotonous persistence with ”Twitter” war 24×365 with utter disregard to its fallout on national security interests.
How true are the clichés “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” or “A known enemy is better than the new friend”? In our internal environment, the clichés can be refined, more aptly, as “better the Chinese or Pakistan as adversaries than the internal political rivals out to backstab at every single opportunity” in pursuit of their narrow political agenda of reclaiming lost power of dynasties.
Sonia Gandhi today criticised the BJP-led NDA government for their handling of the India-China border crisis at a meeting of the Congress Working Commission (CWC): “attributable to the mismanagement of the BJP-led NDA government and the wrong policies pursued by it. India has been hit by a terrible economic crisis, a pandemic of huge proportions and, now, by a full-blown crisis on the borders with China. The cumulative effect is widespread misery, fear, and danger to the security and territorial integrity of the country”.
Let me record the “Twitter” barbs by the Congress Party ‘trio’ and their followers to include: 1) Why is PM silent over the deadly clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh? 2) Has China occupied Indian Territory? 3) Who sent unarmed soldiers and why? 4) Why were our soldiers killed? 5) Where were they killed – on our land or Chinese land? 6) We are standing united against Chinese aggression? 7) Has PM surrendered Indian Territory to Chinese aggression? 8) Why is PM backing support to China and not to our Army? 9) Why is China ‘praising Modi during this conflict? 10) Narendra Modi is actually Surrender Modi? and so on.
In the latest tweet, RG stated “China took our land. (Picture of Indian tricolour) is negotiating to get it back. China says it’s not Indian land. The PM has publicly supported China’s claim. Why is the PM backing China and not (Indian tricolour) and our army?
Following it on the same day, RG’s reply to BJP counter offensive in his tweet stated “We are united against the Chinese aggression. Have the Chinese occupied Indian land”? RG also claimed that China was in possession of Indian land through transgressions of the nearly 3,500km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) running between the two countries in several attempts since May this year and the Indian government was negotiating to get it back while the prime minister had “publicly supported” China’s claim that the land (Galwan Valley) doesn’t belong to India.
RG’s twitter attacks are in sync with his party’s strategy to question Modi’s statement given during the all party meet called to discuss the incidents of June 15, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in Galwan Valley along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
Modi in his statement at the all party meeting clarified “neither is anyone inside India’s territory nor any of our post captured”. Since the meeting, the Congress including RG questioned whether the PM Modi meant that Indian Territory has already been ceded to China.
Soon after, the PMO had clarified the PM’s statement saying that the comments were being given a “mischievous interpretation”. “The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day,” the PMO said.
Furthermore, a government official has reiterated that “the decision that the government has given a free hand to the local commanders to respond to any eventuality on the ground was not a unilateral action of the government, but was forced by the Chinese decision to violate all existing protocols and border agreements”.
Not to let go the opportunity to embarrass Modi-led BJP government, Congress spokesperson Randip Surjewala’s stated in his twitter that “According to the prime minister, there was no incursion into our territories by the Chinese Army, then why did the external affairs ministry issue a statement in the evening of June 20, 2020 to say that the Chinese army was interrupting Indian patrol since the beginning of May 2020?” In yet another tweet, the party questioned the alleged contradiction in the statements issued by the government and the prime minister.
Finally, the Congress Party fielded their octogenarian former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to directly advise Modi against using “disinformation” as a substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership and mindful of the implications of his words on a nation’s strategic interests.
Naturally, the BJP has gone on a over drive to question Manmohan Singh’s locus-standi on the matter by alleging that he had allowed several Chinese incursions during his reign as India’s prime minister. And, the saffron party also went after RG today with party President JP Nadda citing an old understanding between the ruling Chinese Community party and the Indian National Congress.
“First, Congress signs MoU with the Chinese Communist Party. Then, Congress surrenders land to China. During the Doklam issue, RG secretly goes to the Chinese embassy. During crucial situations, RG tries to divide the nation and demoralise armed forces. Effects of MoU?” Nadda asked in a tweet.
Add to it, “RG is demoralising & insulting the army. BJP used to support Congress at difficult times, but they are doing dirty politics now. They should attack China, but they can’t see anyone else other than PM Modi,” Shivraj Singh Chouhan was quoted as saying by ANI.
Not to be seen left behind, loyal followers of the “Dynasty” like Kapil Sibbal, P Chidambarams etc., have jumped into the fray with a list of questions to include:
1) what is the government’s answer to the Chinese apportioning the blame for clashes that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead and its claim on the entire Galwan Valley?
2) If no Chinese troops were inside Indian Territory, where did the clashes take place on June 15-16?
3) If no Chinese troops were inside Indian Territory, why did 20 soldiers have to make the supreme sacrifice?
4) Where were 20 Indian soldiers killed and 85 injured? 4) Between May 5 and June 6, what was the issue on which local Indian commanders were talking to their Chinese counterparts if no Chinese troops had crossed the LAC and in Indian Territory in a face-off with Indian Army?
5) What was the subject matter of the negotiations between the Corps Commanders of the two countries on June 6?
6) Why did Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s statement and other statements of the Ministry of External Affairs demand the “restoration of status quo ante”? “What was the meaning of ‘status quo ante’?
7) What was the meaning of the ‘disengagement’ that is ‘underway’?
8) What the prime minister meant when he said a few days ago that the “sacrifice of our soldiers will not go in vain”. “What did he have in mind?
9) How will the government ensure that the soldiers sacrifice will not be in vain?
As per the latest media coverage, the Corps Commander-level talks between India and China at Chushul-Moldo were held yet again “in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere. “There was a mutual consensus to disengage. There would be gradual de-escalation that would take place. The forces will move back a particular distance in all areas of friction. This would be different for each location Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh. The disengagement will be step-wise and take place over a period of time.
Also, army sources reportedly stated that more meetings will be held at levels below that of the corps commander to ensure that disengagement takes place smoothly and according to schedule. The sources remained tight-lipped about the exact withdrawal schedule, saying it was a matter of operational secrecy.
Watching the ongoing discourses or narratives by various editors, anchors, spokespersons of political parties, former diplomats, self styled security strategic civilian experts and a large number of former armed forces officers as defence experts over the border clashes in Ladakh, particularly from the anti-Modi Brigades is also quite distressing and depressing for majority who still cannot precisely know the separation between Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso?
Sonia Ghandy’s “Maut ke Saudagar” jibe at a rally in Gujarat in 2007 assembly polls after the Ahmadabad riots backfired and Modi got re-elected and became the Chief Minister. A barrage of “barbs” in elections that followed in 2014 and 2019 also failed to rally people under the Congress Party umbrella. Instead, they got a drubbing. And, the latest ones invoked against Modi and the BJP will only a backlash since the issue concerns national security and the Indian Armed Forces.
Two important lessons of history are highlighted to include: “Fools learn from their experiences; Wise learn from others experiences”; and “None learns from lesson of History”. On reflection of the bizarre state of vicious politics on grand display, I have added to the quote that “Idiots refuse to learn from the lessons of history”.
Is Dynasty (s) on Self Destructive Course! Along with self destruction of the “Dynasty” will “We the People” unceremoniously dump the Congress Party into dustbin of history – MK Gandhi’s wish after attaining independence?