Edit & Opinion

In India’s Opinion | The Dispatch on 22 June, 2020

Every Monday to Saturday, The Dispatch brings to you a selection of Editorials from leading newspapers across the country.

Unlike China

“India’s democracy is best served by Opposition that asks questions even as it shows solidarity, government that answers,” reads the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, ” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concluding remarks at the all-party meeting on Friday sparked confusion and invited questions. Neither has anyone intruded into Indian territory, nor has anyone captured military posts, the PM said. This didn’t seem to square with the official communication on External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart in which he told him that Chinese troops’ attempts to erect a structure in Galwan Valley on the Indian side of the LAC reflected an intent to change the facts on the ground. The statement seemed more problematic seen alongside the unprecedented and formal Chinese claim, also on Friday, that the Galwan Valley is located on the Chinese side of the LAC. The PMO clarified on Saturday, saying that the PM’s statement pertained to the situation after the clash of June 15, and the government underlined that the Chinese claim to Galwan Valley was not in accordance with China’s own position in the past. Given the nature of the LAC dispute, its history and, as importantly, its geography, ambivalence over framing it will always be fraught,” read the full editorial here


Returning to the city

“As economic activity resumes, government must ease passage of migrant workers to old and new places of work,” read the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, “The phase of large-scale exodus of migrant workers from major urban and industrial centres to their home states is over. Not only has Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised “unlock, unlock, unlock” as the way forward, many industries have restarted in some form. Sectors such as FMCG are reporting higher demand — whether for staples, biscuits, snacks and instant noodles or soaps and sanitisers — than even during pre-COVID, simply because of more people still sitting at, if not working from, homes. While the healthcare and telecom industries operated even during the lockdown, one can expect others as well — the need to avoid crowded traveling and shopping should, for instance, benefit two-wheeler makers and e-commerce platforms — to ramp up capacity utilisation in the coming days,” read the full editorial here

In the Covid-19 battle, Delhi turns to volunteers

“Use them for contact tracing and monitoring those in home isolation,” read the editorial of The Hindustan Times. It further reads, “Last week, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal unveiled a scheme to involve non-governmental organisations (NGOs), volunteers, the National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme Cadets, and scouts to join the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Asymptomatic individuals and those working for NGOs and within the 18-55 age bracket can join the effort. The volunteers will be deployed to survey suspected cases; strengthen surveillance and management of isolation cases; manage Covid-19 helplines; and assist senior citizens, among other steps,” read the full editorial here

Gathering support

“India must build a consensus to counter Chinese aggression,” reads the editorial of The Tribune. It further reads, “The world has taken note of the increasing Chinese adventurism in India. The questioning of Chinese incursions by a US official after the recent talks between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi indicates support for India as well as widespread concern about the aggressive stance adopted by China recently. By drawing attention to the Chinese misadventure of 2015, as well as recent unreasonable postures adopted by Beijing in Hong Kong and the South China Sea, the US has ratcheted up the pressure on China,” read the full editorial here.


Avoid pop nationalism

“India faces a grave strategic challenge from China which has naturally upset the entire country,” read the editorial of The Times of India. It further reads, “The reaction, however, should be thought through to avoid harming Indian businesses and labour force. In a world where economies are linked through cross-border capital and technology flows and globalised supply chains, reflexive calls for boycott of products or services which have some Chinese investments can be counterproductive.,” read the full editorial here.

Lost in clarifications: On Modi’s LAC statement

“PM Modi’s remarks on the border clash are symptomatic of the govt’s poor messaging,” read the editorial of The Hindu. It further reads, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments to an all-party meet on Friday, claiming there had neither been any intrusion by China nor was any intruder present, expectedly caused a political storm. Not only was the violence on the night of June 15 that claimed 20 Indian soldiers triggered by China erecting structures on India’s side of the LAC in the Galwan Valley, Chinese troops still remain present on Indian territory elsewhere in Ladakh, including on the northern bank of Pangong Lake. After the problems with his remarks were highlighted by the Opposition, the Prime Minister’s Office was moved to issue a much needed clarification on Saturday, stating the PM was only referring to the situation in the Galwan Valley “as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces” that foiled a Chinese transgression. Even if the PMO attributed the political storm to “a mischievous interpretation”, it is more than clear that the PM did not choose his words carefully. In fact, his remarks have already been seized upon by the Chinese state media, and were seen as endorsing Beijing’s claims that its troops did not cross the LAC and justifying the People’s Liberation Army’s recent actions. The MEA issued its own statement on Saturday, reiterating that the Chinese had crossed the LAC and erected structures across the line,” read the full editorial here.


All’s unwell: Trouble on the LAC

“Should PM’s assurance of territorial sovereignty being intact be read as tacit confirmation of the Chinese position on the matter?,” reads the editorial of The Telegraph. It further reads, “All’s not quiet on the Chinese front. The prime minister, however, thinks otherwise. At an all-party meeting — did it not come a bit late in the day? — Narendra Modi declared that no intrusion has taken place on Indian territory and ruled out the possibility of Indian posts being occupied by any adversary. The reality, as is often the case during Mr Modi’s regime, may offer a different, worrying picture. Twenty brave Indian soldiers lost their lives in an unprecedented confrontation with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley. If what Mr Modi says is true — India has not suffered any incursions — what led to the conflagration and the tragic fatalities on the Indian side? The Prime Minister’s Office has clarified that the statement reflected ground realities after the clash. This has only added to the confusion. Already, the Chinese embassy is on record saying that the Galwan Valley falls on the other side of the line of actual control, even though the site has been in India’s possession without any dispute for years. Should the prime minister’s assurance of territorial sovereignty being intact then be read as a tacit confirmation of the Chinese position on the matter? This can only mean that Mr Modi is not averse to redrawing the Sino-Indian map. Astoundingly, the prime minister and the foreign ministry seem to be talking at cross-purposes. After the martyrdom of Indian soldiers became public, the foreign ministry had clearly stated that all ‘activities’ — infiltration, presumably- had taken place on the Indian side of the line of actual control. This, along with several other statements, is consistent with reports that have been trickling in for a while, suggesting a massive Chinese presence in the area,” read the full editorial here.





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