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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Why won't China praise PM?: Congress links article hailing Narendra Modi to Galwan clash

The praise for Modi in the Global Times of China, coupled with the surprising visit of Chinese officials to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, has come amidst strains in ties following intrusions at several points in Ladakh

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 06.01.24, 06:10 AM
PM Modi

PM Modi File picture

The Congress on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is praised by the Chinese state media because he gave the country a clean chit despite encroachment of Indian territory and took decisions that were beneficial for the hostile neighbour’s economic and strategic interests.

The praise for Modi in the Global Times of China, coupled with the surprising visit of Chinese officials to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, has come amidst strains in ties following intrusions at several points in Ladakh.

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The Chinese state media, Global Times, has in an article praised Modi for strategic decisions to make India an important centre in the multipolar world, and hailed India’s great achievements in economic development and cultural spheres.

While de-escalation efforts are going on, the setback was so severe that Prime Minister Modi — who had invested heavily in the relationship with China, going so far as to call Premier Xi Jinping his “plus one” friend — completely stopped talking about them.

But that hasn’t deterred the Chinese state media from praising Modi’s leadership. Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh analysed the development, saying: “The Prime Minister stuck his neck in the sand as a response to China’s intrusions, cooperated with its military, allowed it to gain influence in India’s neighbourhood, increased India’s economic dependence on China and permitted the RSS to felicitate its diplomats.”

The Congress leader added: “The ministry of external affairs has said that the relationship with China is ‘not normal’. But what is truly abnormal is the Prime Minister’s accommodation of Chinese interests. No wonder the Chinese state media has only words of praise for him.”

The Congress has taken this very seriously, with even party president Mallikarjun Kharge wondering why the Chinese officials visited the RSS headquarters when the external affairs ministry believes the relationship is not normal.

“What transpired at the talks? What was the purpose of the visit? The Modi government has offered visa concessions to Chinese professionals in the PLI (Production Linked Incentive) scheme. Why? Didn’t China give stapled visas to our players for the Asian Games?” Kharge said.

Demanding that the Modi government must clarify its true China policy, Kharge said: “Didn’t our 20 brave soldiers sacrifice their lives fighting Chinese intruders in the Galwan Valley in 2020? What’s true — the external affairs ministry’s not-normal claim or Modi’s nobody-has-entered clean chit? The entire country, including Ladakh, wants to know with clarity.”

Elaborating on this, Ramesh said: “The Prime Minister’s cheerleaders and drum-beaters are ecstatic about the official Chinese media’s praise for him. And why shouldn’t he get praise from China? After all it was he, and he alone, who: 1. Gave a clean chit to the Chinese on 19 June 2020 with his public statement ‘Na koi hamari seema mein ghus aaya hai, na hi koi ghusa hua hai’ (neither has anybody entered our territory, nor is anyone entrenched in Indian territory). Apart from being a grave insult to our soldiers, this lie has greatly damaged our stance in 18 rounds of corps commander-level negotiations and has contributed to continuing Chinese control of 2,000 square kilometres of fresh Indian territory since May 2020.”

Ramesh added: “Modi permitted India to hold joint military drills in Russia with the same Chinese troops who are occupying our territory in Ladakh. Between December 1 and 7, a contingent of Indian troops from 7/8 Gorkha Rifles took part in Russia’s Vostok 2022 exercise in which China also participated. Was the supreme sacrifice of 20 of our brave soldiers so easily forgotten? Modi allowed China to gain influence in the Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka at India’s expense.”

Recalling how new Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu’s request for India to withdraw its troops from that country was a major setback to Indian national security, Ramesh also pointed to the strategic disadvantage to India because of a major Chinese buildup in the Doklam area.

He added: “And in Sri Lanka, where the Prime Minister has been mostly focused on securing contracts for his cronies, China has cemented its hold on critical national assets with a 99-year lease on the strategic Hambantota Port. Chinese intelligence-gathering ships have periodically docked at the port. These are all reasons for China to be satisfied.”

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