This Article is From Jan 29, 2023

"In 1962...": S Jaishankar's China Dig At Rahul Gandhi On Ladakh "Territory Loss"

Congress's Rahul Gandhi had cited recent report by senior officer in Ladakh that said India has lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points in the region

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar speaking at his book release event in Pune.


Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday claimed the land that opposition leaders say has been occupied by China "was in fact occupied in 1962", in a reference to the war when Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister. He also took a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who recently spoke about an official report on loss of territory in Ladakh.

"Sometimes they spread news that they know is false. They project as if it happened just now, when it, in fact, happened in 1962... They won't talk about that," he said, referring, according to news agency ANI, to China's version of events. His "they" reference may have been to opposition leaders' recent remarks too.

On loss of territory, recently Rahul Gandhi was among those who cited a report by a senior police officer in Ladakh that said India has lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points in Eastern Ladakh. The report was filed at a conference of the country's top police officers in Delhi, attended by PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

But Mr Jaishankar sought to counter it, speaking at the Saturday event in Pune.

"Also, if I would need to know something (on China), I won't go to the Chinese ambassador to get inputs, but to my military leadership," he added, furthering the dig by referring to Rahul Gandhi's 2017 meeting with the envoy when the two countries were in a standoff.

Mr Gandhi had clarified at the time: "It is my job to be informed on critical issues. I met the Chinese Ambassador, (India's) Ex-NSA (National Security Adviser), Congress leaders from NE (North East) and the Bhutanese ambassador."

At the Pune event, the Foreign Minister also spoke about overseas news outlets using adjectives such as "Hindu nationalist" for India's BJP government. "In America or Europe, they won't say Christian Nationalist... these adjectives are reserved for us," he said.

He added that he is proud of it. "If you look at the last nine years, there is no doubt that government and politics of the day are more nationalistic... I don't think there is anything to be apologetic about it," said the minister, speaking in Hindi, at the release of 'Bharat Marg', the Marathi translation of his book 'The India Way'

His comments on foreign media come when there is a row over a BBC documentary on the PM, 'The Modi Question', that speaks about the 2002 Gujarat riots, when he was Chief Minister, and the BJP's allegedly communal politics.

The central government has denounced the two-part docu-series as a "propaganda piece" designed to push a discredited narrative.

In his remarks in Pune, Mr Jaishankar did not speak on this specifically, but said that "everyone in the country is connected with PM Modi during India's G20 presidency".

India has got the headship of the international group for a year as part of a rotation system.