Defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday the government will not compromise on the country’s pride and self-respect even as Congress president Rahul Gandhi stepped up his criticism of the Centre’s handling of the ongoing India-China border row.
Addressing a BJP event online, Singh acknowledged that Gandhi and some opposition leaders have sought the government’s clarification on the developments at the border. “As the defence minister of the country, I want to say that…I will say it inside Parliament; I will not mislead the people,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi stressed that “everyone knows the reality”, less than 24 hours after home minister Amit Shah pointed out that India has shown decisiveness in protecting its borders. “The media is muzzled and terrified. The truth seems dormant. But it flows in the blood of every single Indian Army officer and soldier. They know exactly what is happening in Ladakh,” Gandhi said in a tweet. “Everyone knows the reality of the ‘borders’, but the thought is good to keep one’s heart happy,” he said in another tweet in Hindi, tweaking a couplet by Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib.
Addressing a virtual rally in Bihar on Sunday, Shah had said India’s defence policy has gained global acceptance and the world agrees that after the US and Israel, if there is any other country that is able to protect its borders, it is India.
Reacting to Gandhi’s tweets, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said: “Sabko maloom hai Doklam ke samay kiske sath chai peene ke bad aap chupana chahte the (Everyone knows with who you had tea at the time of Doklam and later tried to hide it).” During the Doklam stand-off in 2017, Gandhi’s meeting with Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui triggered a war of words. Gandhi then clarified that as an opposition leader, he held regular meetings with diplomats on critical issues.