New Delhi: There’s a well-known saying: “You can run with a lie, but you can’t hide from the truth. It will catch you.”
That’s precisely what has happened with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his advisors when it comes to admitting that China did enter Indian territory.
At an all-party meeting called by the government on June 19, the Prime Minister had said that no one had entered Indian territory.
We had TV channels going berserk on how ‘China had been taught a lesson’ even after we had lost 20 Army personnel in Galwan Valley in East Ladakh India, in fact, gave a ‘fitting reply’ by banning hundreds of Chinese apps.
Yet, there was no clarity to the common citizens as to how far inside Indian territory the Chinese had entered. Or, was there any incursion at all?
All we heard was that the China ‘pushed’ in and we ‘pushed them back’. All this media hype was done to prevent any scratch on the muscular image of the Prime Minister Modi.
However, India’s Defence Ministry seems to have been very clear about the threat from China and even had a document that confirmed incursions posted on its website.
But, Lo and Behold! That document disappeared from the Ministry’s website on Thursday afternoon!
As a result, something that Modi and his men tried to hide is now splashing all across the media (of course, not ‘Godi’ TV channels) and has kicked up a political storm.
On Friday, all major national dailies took this news on its front pages. The Indian Express, reported that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had uploaded a document that for the first time admitted that China had “transgressed” into Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh, but on Thursday afternoon, a day after it was uploaded, the document went missing from the website.
“The document, which listed “major activities of Department of Defence” for June, warned of a “prolonged” standoff — which is already in its fourth month — between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In its previous report, for the months of April and May, the Ministry had not mentioned the Chinese transgression.”
Citing the document, NDTV said that it admitted that Chinese aggression has been increasing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and more particularly in Galwan Valley since May 5, 2020.
“The Chinese side has transgressed in the areas of Kungrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso Lake on May 17-18," the ministry said in the "What's New" section on its website, under the title "Chinese Aggression on LAC".”
According to the document, ground level interactions were held between the armed forces of both sides to defuse the situation. A Corps commanders' 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 NDTV report quoted from the document.
According to NDTV, the document cautioned that "The situation in Eastern Ladakh arising from unilateral aggression by China continues to be sensitive and requiring close monitoring and prompt action based on the evolving situation."
When NDTV found that the document had vanished from MoD’s website and the link was not working, it reached out to a ministry spokesperson who said the document "did not go through him".
However, a Times of India, report said it had been writing since May that China’s Peoples’ Liberation Army haad intruded into Indian territory. It also pointed out that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, ina TV interview in May-end, had said that “a sizeable number of Chinese soldiers had “come a little further than they used to earlier”. But it was officially clarified that it should not be “misinterpreted as if Chinese troops entered the Indian side of the LAC”.
Anyway, the ‘taking down’ of the document from the MoD’s website has given a handle to the Opposition parties who questioned the PM on his statement that “no one” had entered India.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused the PM of lying.
Taking a dig at the PM, he tweeted: “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.”
Former Home Minister P Chidambaram smelt a conspiracy within the ruling BJP.
In another tweet, he said: “ Someone is out to get @rajnathsingh out of the Defence Ministry! Otherwise, why would @DefenceMinIndia website put out the truth about the Chinese aggression and occupation of Indian territory?”
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, too, accused the Prime Minister of “misleading the nation.”
“On June 19, PM categorically misled the nation. The Ministry of Defence puts out a document which then disappears! Whatever the PM and his govt are trying to hide is very serious and the government must clearly tell the truth,” Yechury tweeted.