The growing tendency to politicise the border conflict with China is highly deplorable. Both the BJP and the Congress have been trading charges and questioning each other’s patriotic credentials on an issue that requires the entire nation to speak in one voice and put up a united fight. The political blame-game and mud-slinging will only give handle to our adversary and its state-controlled media to spread fake narratives. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been leading his party’s attack on the face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. By dubbing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “Surender Modi” for allegedly surrendering India’s territory to China, he has vitiated the debate on a sensitive matter that should have been kept above partisan politics. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has not covered himself in glory either. He has sought to paint the opposition as a villain playing into the hands of China. This is not the time to score political brownie points. The parties must do self-introspection whether they should be indulging in mutual finger-pointing in the time of crisis. At a time when soldiers are fighting it out at the border to protect the country’s territorial sovereignty, it would be deplorable if politicians refuse to rise above their narrow party politics and display unity. Unfortunately, the Ladakh tragedy has turned into a ‘Congress versus BJP’ fight.
The opposition party taunted that the NDA government was caught napping in the face of Chinese incursions while the saffron party hit back saying this was not 1962, referring to the humiliation India had suffered during the Sino-Indian war when the Congress was in power. BJP MP from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal went a step further and listed out details of the “areas that were lost to China under the Congress watch.” It is time the political parties arrived at a consensus on matters that have a direct bearing on national security and adopted a bipartisan approach. The Centre should take the opposition into confidence on such sensitive issues instead of dubbing the critical voices as anti-national. Though it did convene an all-party meeting once to brief the parties about the Ladakh situation, what followed was a familiar blame-game and name-calling. A section of the ruling party feels that any criticism of Narendra Modi’s statement at the all-party meeting on the Chinese incursions would result in undermining national solidarity, and should not be permitted. Those who question government statements are labelled as “pro-Chinese”. While it is the responsibility of opposition parties to stand by the government in its steps to defend the country’s territorial integrity, the government, on its part, should not conceal the facts.
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