The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday criticised the Congress over its party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark on the 1962 India-China war, calling it an “attack on the integrity of India” and an “insult to every soldier who sacrificed their life for the tricolour”. 

Addressing a press conference here, BJP spokesperson Gaurab Bhatia questioned the silence of senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge over Aiyar’s remark while accusing the grand old party of having an “anti-India” mindset. 

“Can this happen without the approval of Rahul Gandhi and Maillikarjun Kharge who are silent? Why this silence? We all know the relationship between India and China, India has been standing strong with pride showing China its place,” Bhatia said, as quoted by ANI. 

“This represents the anti-India mindset of Congress and Mani Shankar Aiyar. This is an attack on the integrity of India. This is an insult to every soldier who sacrificed his life for the tricolour. 1400 of our soldiers sacrificed their lives in the 1962 war. They fought till their last breath. This was an alleged attack,” he added. 

Congress distances itself from Aiyar’s remarks

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh distanced the party from Aiyar’s remarks on the Chinese invasion in 1962, saying his statement was in his “personal capacity”, and he is not an official but a former MP and minister. 

“Who is Mani Shankar Aiyar? He is not an official, he is a former MP and a former minister. He speaks whatever he wants in his personal capacity. We have nothing to do with it… he has nothing to do with the Congress party. He is in Congress party but he is not even an MP, he is just a former MP,” Ramesh told ANI. 

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera termed it a “slip of tongue” while stressing that Mani Shankar had already apologised for his remarks. “This is not a big issue. It was a slip of tongue and he has apologised. BJP is continuously bringing up this issue after that. This shows their bankruptcy.”

He even questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly giving China a “clean chit” in the Galwan Valley clash in 2020. “Narendra Modi gave a clean chit to China on June 19, 2020. China which took control of 26 out of 65 patrolling points, which is 2000 square kilometers in eastern Ladakh, has been given clean chit by Narendra Modi. He has insulted our soldiers…,” Khera added. 

‘China allegedly invaded India’

Aiyar, speaking at an event at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Delhi on Tuesday evening, was quoted narrating an anecdote, saying, “In October 1962, the Chinese allegedly invaded India.”

However, he later apologised for using “alleged” in a brief statement. “I unreservedly apologise for having mistakenly used the word ‘alleged’ before ‘Chinese invasion’ at the Foreign Correspondents Club this evening.”


(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 30 May 2024, 08:10 AM IST

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