Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday claimed the country that opposition leaders say was occupied by China “was actually occupied in 1962,” alluding to the war when Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister. He also took a dig at Congress Chairman Rahul Gandhi, who recently spoke about an official report on territorial losses in Ladakh.
“Sometimes they spread messages that they know are wrong. They project as if it happened right now, when in fact it happened in 1962… They won’t talk about it,” he said, referring to China’s version of events, according to ANI news agency. His reference to “they” may also have referred to the opposition leaders’ recent statements.
On the subject of loss of territory, Rahul Gandhi was among those recently citing a report by a senior Ladakh police official that India had lost access to 26 out of 65 patrol points in eastern Ladakh. The report was tabled at a conference of the country’s top police officers in Delhi, attended by PM Narendra Modi, Interior Minister Amit Shah and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
But Mr Jaishankar tried to counter that and spoke at Saturday’s event in Pune.
“Furthermore, if I needed to know something (about China), I will not go to the Chinese ambassador for inputs, I will go to my military leadership,” he added, reinforcing the dig by referring to Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the 2017 received envoys when the two countries were at a standoff.
At the time, Mr. Gandhi had made it clear: “It is my job to be informed about critical issues. I met the Chinese Ambassador, (India’s) Ex-NSA (National Security Adviser), Congress leader from NE (Northeast) and the Bhutanese Ambassador.”
At the Pune event, the foreign minister also spoke about foreign news outlets, using adjectives such as “Hindu nationalist” for India’s BJP government. “In America or Europe, they don’t say Christian nationalist … those adjectives are reserved for us,” he said.
He’s proud of that, he added. “If you look at the last nine years there is no doubt that the government and politics of the day are more nationalistic… I don’t think there is anything to excuse that,” the minister said in Hindi. on the publication of ‘Bharat Marg’, the Marathi translation of his book ‘The India Way’
His comments in foreign media come amid a row over a BBC documentary on the prime minister, The Modi Question, which talks about the 2002 Gujarat riots when he was chief minister and the BJP’s alleged local politics.
The central government has denounced the two-part documentary series as a “propaganda piece” aimed at promoting a discredited narrative.
In his speech in Pune, Mr Jaishankar didn’t talk about it specifically, but said that “everyone in the country is linked to Prime Minister Modi during India’s G20 presidency”.
India has assumed leadership of the international group for one year on a rotating basis.