Under Sangh pressure, Modi takes hard line on incursions

Government sources confirmed that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval called Mr. Modi on Wednesday evening to give him a full brief on the military faceoff with Chinese troops in Chumar sector of Ladakh as well as the ongoing civilian standoff over a NREGA irrigation project in Demchok.

The call apparently came after Sangh Parivar members expressed unhappiness over the effusive welcome to Chinese President Xi Jinping. “It was particularly disturbing for them to see images of the two leaders sitting on a swing by the Sabarmati riverside, while China is openly challenging us at the border, and we asked that security officials update the PM with the latest situation,” a source said.

Mr. Modi is reported to have taken Mr. Xi aside directly after their dinner in Ahmedabad and taken up the concerns very strongly. On Thursday morning too, Mr. Modi made special mention of the incursions in talks that extended an hour longer than expected.

The Prime Minister first met Mr. Xi with a restricted group of advisers, followed by a one-on-one meeting, and then along with their delegations. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is also understood to have taken a strong line on the border incursions during her talks with the Chinese delegation.

In the press appearance that followed the talks, Mr. Modi’s line was clear, as he said he had “raised India’s serious concern over repeated incidents along the border.” Later Mr. Xi in a public speech said, “I am aware that some in India claim that a stronger China will seek hegemonistic powers. I wish to make it clear that China is firmly committed to peaceful development,” expressing the hope the boundary would be demarcated and the issue resolved “quickly”.

Significantly, through the day, the BJP’s communication cell regularly tweeted the PM’s tougher comments on the Line of Actual Control as well as visas. It finally tweeted on its official handle @bjpsamvad, “Chinese had been halted and pushed back from Chumar in Ladakh by Indian Army.”

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 9:20:53 AM |

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