“China not a military threat to India,” PM Modi had said in 2015

At the Combined Commanders’ Conference held on INS Vikramaditya in 2015, senior officers had told the PM of the threat from China. Five more questions were put to the PM on Thursday

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NH Web Desk

The Congress on Thursday asked the Prime Minister five more questions on China. In a statement released by the party’s chief of communications, Jairam Ramesh, the Prime Minister was asked to clarify if he had told commanders in 2015 that to his mind China did not pose any military threat to India at all.

Here is the text of the statement:

We asked the Prime Minister a first set of 7 questions on China on December 17, 2022. As expected, no answers were forthcoming, and it was followed by a second set of 5 questions on December 18, 2022. Here is a third set of 5 questions to the Prime Minister for which the nation is demanding answers from him.

1. Some time ago you coined a new slogan "Inch towards Miles" in which INCH stood for "India-China" and MILES for "Millennium of Exceptional Energy". Then, we saw the Chinese exert exceptional energy to take over thousands of square miles of our territory in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. Would you agree that your naiveté and bad judgment cost the nation dearly?

2. For the sake of your domestic image, you have thrown your effort into personalised diplomacy and projecting strong relationships with major world leaders. With your ‘friend’ President Xi Jinping you sat in a swing in Ahmedabad, shared cups of tea in Wuhan and shook hands in Bali. As recently as October 2019 you met Xi again and declared that "Chennai Vision is the start of a new era in India-China relations," adding that "strategic communications between both the sides have increased." Six months later the Chinese were communicating their strategic intent, from Depsang to Demchok, while you remained in complete denial. Has your personalised diplomacy not been proven to be utterly hollow? Has your obsession with image-building come at the expense of the national interest?

3. Is it true that when the senior officers of all three armed services assembled at the Combined Commanders’ Conference on INS Vikramaditya in 2015 told you that they all considered China to be India’s prime military threat, you replied: "I believe that China is not a military threat at all to India"? Does this not reflect a level of delusion and overconfidence against all the available evidence?

4. The Chinese incursions in early 2020 were a strategic surprise that caught us unprepared. The last time we faced a comparable military surprise was in Kargil in 1999. Why do BJP governments that cloak themselves with "nationalism" so often fall victim to such surprises? Could it be that they are more interested in politicking and attacking the Opposition than ensuring the safety of the country? When will we have an accounting of the China surprise as we did following the Kargil war?

5. Many have pointed out how afraid you are to take the name of our chief adversary China. Former US ambassador Kenneth Juster, who was US Ambassador to India during the critical 2017-21 years, said that, far from naming China, your government asked the US not to mention China's border aggression in its statements. Would it not have been better to rally international opinion to our side? Why have you imperilled our national security for the sake of your vanity?

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