Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strongman image is costing India dearly on the Indo-China border issue may have only rhetorical value but his pointed questions on what is happening there beg national attention and governmental response.
The citizens of this nation have not been told in clear terms on the nature of the aggression our eastern neighbour has made nor about the status of the Line of Actual Control now.
All that we have is the statement of defence minister Rajnath Singh, perhaps the most candid among those at the helm of the government, that there cannot be a guarantee as to what extent the issue would be resolved through talks.
He followed up the statement with the stated position of India: we have never attacked a nation and have never staked claim to any country’s land.
So what is the border issue all about? Are the Chinese still sitting on our land or is it that nothing has happened as the Prime Minister would swear?
True, the operational details of the defence forces are classified information but conjectures and speculations do not help the nation either.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s response to Gandhi’s questions borders on the absurd. Instead of attempting an answer, party president J.P. Nadda takes to retorts and says the “dynasty wanted to wash the sins of 1962”.
The BJP president is well within his right to bring up historical events and put them on public trial as long as it helps bring out more truth and prepare us better.
But using history as a shield to evade uncomfortable questions is a puerile ploy, which cannot sustain itself for long.
Nadda must take credit in the fact that the government is now investigating his allegations about the Congress’s Chinese connections and then leave it to the investigating agencies to find out the truth.
To bring up the matter again to deflect questions the principal Opposition party raises does not signal the moral strength of the ruling party.
He must instead advice the government to make a clean breast of the issue and answer the Opposition, and the nation, point by point. History did not end in 1962; it is being written even now.
While the BJP shies away from border questions, the other Opposition parties choose to sit in the gallery and watch the former Congress president ploughing a lonely furrow.
Not many Congress leaders are also coming to the aid of their former president either. This is curious. Gandhi and the trusts his family head started have been facing legal action by government agencies the moment they stepped up the attack on the government. This has not seemed to sober down Gandhi; he is more vociferous now.
It will be a pity if the nation is made to come to the conclusion that the other leaders have too many skeletons in their cupboards that their commenting on issues of national security would set the hounds after them. For the border belongs to the nation, not a single political party