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TIO, EXCLUSIVE, By Vijaylakshmi Nadar, Edited by Adam Rizvi, New York, TIO: The Indian prime minister Narendra Modi lies! And how! This time he was caught in his lies, by the government’s website!
Modi has been consistently maintaining that there is no aggression from the Chinese, maintaining at an all-party opposition meet on the China crisis in June, that quote; neither has anyone intruded into our territory, nor has anyone taken over any post”, adding “our forces are doing what they have to do to protect the country”, whether it is deployment, action or counter-action. Our patrolling capacity has increased due to newly built infrastructure, especially along LAC; he had said.
This even though two very trustworthy retired officers, Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) H.S Panag, (author The Indian Army) and Colonel Ajai Shukla kept chipping at the lies relentlessly, with some irrefutable, hard facts, since May this year. And to the utter frustration of the government and its supporters, they cannot be dismissed as ‘anti-nationals’ for pointing out the obvious.
On August 6, the Ministry of Defence, for the very first time since May, admitted on its website that there were Chinese’s transgressions across the Line of Actual
Control (LAC) in Galwan, Hot Springs and Pangong, in Ladakh.
It came as no surprise that the circular was withdrawn from the website within two days when media started reporting on it but not before shaming all those enlisted by the government to lie on his behalf, whether it was the media, retired generals, or the party spokespersons.
The now disappeared document states that China had indeed intruded into Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh in early May; Chinese aggression has been increasing along the LAC and more particularly in Galwan valley since May 5, 2020. The Chinese side has transgressed in the areas of Kungrang Nala, Gogra, and the north bank of Pangong Tso Lake on May 17-18; the ministry said in the; Whats Newt; section on its website, under the title quote; “Chinese Aggression on LAC”.
The document also said ground-level interactions were held between the armed forces of both sides to defuse the situation. A Corps commander’s flag meeting was held on June 6. However, a violent face-off incident took place between the two sides on June 15, resulting in casualties on both sides. The document accepted that the situation was likely to prolong, with the failure in talks so far.
This was the first time that any official document had taken note of what was called Chinese aggression since tension near the LAC started in May and escalated into the worst fight in decades between the neighbors on June 15, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty.
On the ministry taking off the document, Rahul Gandhi commented that. “forget standing up to China, India’s PM lacks the courage even to name them. Denying China is in our territory and removing documents from websites won’t change the facts, he tweeted.
ANI which has now emerged as the official news agency while PTI is being deliberately made redundant, was expectedly reporting the government version, but couldn’t keep up with the lies and finally started reporting about the Chinese refusal to vacate Hot Spring and Gogra.
According to Ajai Shukla, in his blog, “if one were to draw a line connecting the Chinese intrusions in (from north to south) Depsang, Galwan, Hot Spring and Pangong Tso, this new LAC would mark the biggest territorial loss since 1962”. Multiple rounds of talks with the Chinese have failed with them not honoring their commitment for disengagement at the friction points in Eastern Ladakh and not moving back as per the agreed terms in these talks, even with the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in charge.
To make their position clear, that they are in no mood to de-escalate the situation at the LAC, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed around 40,000 in the Eastern Ladakh sector. Earlier governments have hidden facts too and media has been complicit in it but this is the first time that the media makes questioning the government of the day, an anti-national act, even if it is only the opposition doing its job! Just as Narendra Modi questioned the former prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh when he was just the chief minister of Gujarat. None of his taunts then to Dr. Singh was considered ‘anti-national’ or detrimental to the security of the country then!
Just as Delhi was emerging from its worst-case scenario of COVID last month and the Delhi government model of handling the pandemic became a model for the entire country to emulate, television anchors grilled the chief minister Arvind Kejriwal about the situation with China, expecting him to make a controversial statement about Chinese aggression.
When Kejriwal played it smart by stating that we should free our land from the Chinese and that the prime minister should handle the situation strongly, the anchor pushed him into answering if he thought the PM was lying too. Kejriwal flipped the question to the anchor to ask that if the PM was not lying then his channel was? Despite the PM’s assurances, channels were reporting tensions at the border.
It has now become the nation’s favourite past time, for retired generals, BJP ministers, and spokespersons to assemble in the studios of the Indian media, during prime time, to bash up and threaten Pakistan, with an intensity which could trigger a war. But Pakistan has over the last six years learned to laugh at the high decibel dramas.
One controversial statement by Home Minister Amit Shah last August that Aksai Chin belonged to India, however, was not taken well by Beijing at all. They had not stopped at just voicing their ire against India. Chinese troops had also crossed the LAC at Pangong on September 11, 2019, and beat up 10 Indian soldiers, besides damaging Indian patrol boats.
This year too on June 15, Chinese soldiers ambushed and killed 20 unarmed Indian soldiers who had gone to the LAC to verify disengagement, which is what the opposition had asked questions about. And the PM had lied denying the presence of Chinese soldiers in our borders. Effectively echoing the official Chinese stance, that we were the aggressors, hence the killings. This happened when the talks were not making any headway.
The Chinese at the moment are refusing to pull back in Depsang and Pangong Tso, and sticking to the disengagement positions in Galwan and Hot Springs, intending to forcibly create a new LAC. This would mean India being in an embarrassing position of seceding several hundred square kilometers of territory, leaving China hungry for more.
The country still awaits details of the tragedy that unfolded in Pulwama, on Valentine’s day last year when a convoy of vehicles on the Jammu Kashmir highway carrying security personnel was attacked by a suicide bomber. He simply rammed his vehicle in the convoy, despite it being a highly militarized zone, killing about 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawans.
There was plenty of national fervor displayed in the Indian national media, but none cared to ask some very elementary questions, as to how did a local boy, execute an attack like this, amidst so much security.
Even today, the media is busy discussing the death of a film star threadbare, when the focus needs to be the three C’s, the Chinese aggression, the COVID crisis, and the crashing economy.
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The subsequent Balakot strike, supposedly to “avenge” the deaths, too has several unanswered questions, including how many died on the other side. Did we avenge the deaths of our soldiers, or was it just a publicity stunt? Worst still was our soldiers ‘sacrificed’, as a pre-election requisite?
Pakistan brought international media to show that there no casualties on their side, also releasing an Indian pilot Abinanadan, as a “gesture of goodwill” while the Indian media was roped in to create so much noise buries the real issue. For days on the end, it seemed like an Ind-Pak war was being fought in the studios, with a possibility of one being triggered at the borders too.
One of the two men directing the country’s security, 75-year-old National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, who retired in 2005 as Director, Intelligence Bureau, was brought back as NSA, a post equivalent to a cabinet minister, a decade later when Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014.
This even though he played a key role as one of the three negotiators in the release of passengers from the hijacked IC-814 in Kandahar in 1999, during which the NDA government had faced severe flak for releasing dreaded terrorists. The fact that there was no accountability after the death of soldiers in Pulwama, either by the NSA or the government was no surprise. His visit to riot-hit areas during the Delhi riots in February this year, where 25 people were killed and were seen as extremely unusual for the NSA. His visit to Kashmir, after the lockdown to show the rest of the world that all was well despite the lockdown, by pretending to have biryani with locals, who later said that they had no clue who he was, was perceived as a sham and widely criticized.
The second special appointee who has been entrusted with the security of the country is first-ever tri-service chief, called Chief of Defence (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, a post specially created by the Modi government, to handpick one man, through whom all the three services army, navy, and airforce can be controlled. This post was announced the day he retired as army chief on December 30, 2019. It is truly amazing how the Modi government does not let go of faithful, while Doval was brought in a decade after retirement, retirement rules were amended to
keep General Rawat in service, till 65, instead of the earlier 62 years.
He has consistently kept himself in the good books of the government, even if it means overstepping his line of service. During the countrywide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), he stated that leadership wasn’t about guiding people to carry out arson and violence, a very politically loaded statement criticized by senior retired officers and opposition leaders.
General Rawat awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation card to Major Leetul Gogoi for “sustained efforts” in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir when he should have been punished, for which he drew sharp criticism. Gogoi was mired in a controversy in 2017, when he tied a Kashmiri civilian to the front of his jeep, in an attempt to prevent stone-pelters from targeting his convoy, which had sparked international outrage.
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In 2017, Rawat’s comments against stone pelters in Kashmir too had triggered a row. “I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I (want to do),” he had said. He also said, “Adversaries must be afraid of you and at the same time your people must be afraid of you. We are a friendly army, but when we are called to restore law and order, people have to be afraid of us,” he said, sparking huge outrage in the valley.
Considering the incompetence of its government and the men it has chosen to safeguard the country, it has so far only exhibited excesses against its citizens, to keep dissent and protests muted, while being clueless about national security to keep Chinese troops off of Indian soil.
It is not just a matter of coincidence that India is being attacked when it is going through its leanest period. Narayana Murthy, Infosys chief, who had wished for the second term for Modi, as PM has now stated that the Indian economy is failing so badly that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is likely to reach the same low that existed in 1947! This comes after Infosys too has taken a huge hit, because of the H1B visas being denied in the USA when things are so bleak back home.
The COVID crisis around the world has exposed a bunch of incompetent governments and India is all poised to lead the pack with maximum cases and deaths, considering the deplorable state of health care in the country. Modi imposed the severest and longest lockdowns in the world on India, which flattened its economy, killing employment, generating no new jobs and depriving the states of not only their share of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)but also denying them any kind of government support to deal with the crisis. The states have been pretty much left to their own devices to deal with the crisis.
While educated, intelligent and competent chief ministers like Arvind Kejriwal, have taken all steps necessary to stay ahead of the crisis in Delhi, the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat, Adityanath, Nitish Kumar and Vijay Rupani simply pretend there is no crisis in their states to even bother dealing with it!
So bad is the crisis in the country that it has prompted known lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan to file a petition in the Supreme Court, on how the Modi government has not only failed but also lied to its citizens about the crisis, not taking adequate steps to contain the crisis.
The petition also points out how the lockdowns were imposed only after welcoming US President Donald Trump in Ahmedabad in February, making it one of the worst hotspots in the country. Modi government even waited till it forced the collapse of the duly elected Madhya Pradesh government, amid a crisis, before finally imposing the lockdown.
It is nothing short of a criminal act by the Modi government for not anticipating the difficulties it would cause the migrants who would not only be rendered jobless but also homeless by such a move, as a result of which millions of migrants took to the streets hungry and tired, according to the petition.
There is no accountability of the funds collected under the Disaster management an act which was used as an excuse to establish the PM Cares Fund, which is however being run like a private trust, with no accountability even to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Only the prime minister and three of his trusted appointees would have access to it.
It is the hypocrisy of the highest order, if the then chief minister Narendra Modi who demanded accountability and transparency at all levels from the previous UPA government, is on mute where it comes to the transparency and accountability of himself as the prime minister. Who said the buck stops here? Certainly not Modi!
Compiled by Humra Kidwai Curated by Maham Abbasi
The views expressed are of the author and do not represent the opinions or policies of The India Observer, its editors, or staff. Be guided