Mani Shankar Aiyar stirs row with China 'allegedly invaded' India in 1962 remark

While the BJP slammed Mani Shankar Aiyar's remark as "a brazen attempt at revisionism", the Congress has "distanced itself from his original phraseology".
Mani Shankar Aiyar stirs row with China 'allegedly invaded' India in 1962 remark
Jaano Junction

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar kicked up a political row by saying that the "Chinese allegedly invaded India" in October 1962. The BJP has slammed the controversial remark, saying it was "a brazen attempt at revisionism".

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted on Tuesday night that the veteran party leader has "subequently apologised unreservedly for using the term 'alleged invasion' mistakenly".

"Allowances must be made for his age," he said, adding that Congress has "distanced itself from his original phraseology".

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Mani Shankar Aiyar stirs row with China 'allegedly invaded' India in 1962 remark

On Tuesday evening, Aiyar, while speaking at the launch of the book 'Nehru's First Recruits' at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Delhi, said, "In October 1962, the Chinese allegedly invaded India.”

The Congress leader also recalled the time when he was refused entry into the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

“On the day that Taiwan fell, the Foreign Service exams began in London. When they were over, the newspapers used to make reference to me being a Left-wing, being a communist. After I had passed the IFS exams and had done rather well, if I may say so, I suddenly found that I was not getting any kind of admission letter.

"So I wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs saying I haven’t received my joining letter. I received a telegram saying ‘regret to inform you that you have been rejected from all services’. I immediately realised what it was about. As some people said, I had raised money for the Chinese. I wasn’t able to raise money to eat my dinner. How was I going to raise it for the Chinese?” he quipped.

Aiyar's choice of words, however, raised eyebrows and drew sharp rebukes from various quarters, including his own party.

Recognising the gravity of the situation, the Congess leader later attempted to clarify his stance, admitting that he should not have used the term "alleged", especially in the midst of an election season.

In a brief statement, he said, "I unreservedly apologise for having mistakenly used the word 'alleged' before 'Chinese invasion' at the Foreign Correspondents Club this evening."

“There are various books which indicate that we could have accepted Zhou Enlai’s proposal of April 1960 and avoided a warâ€æ I used the expression 'alleged'. I shouldn’t have done so because we are in the middle of an election," he added.

Slamming Aiyar's controversial remark as "a brazen attempt at revisionism", the BJP's IT cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted, "Nehru gave up India’s claim on permanent seat at the UNSC in favour of the Chinese, Rahul Gandhi signed a secret MoU, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation accepted funds from the Chinese Embassy and published reports recommending market access for Chinese companies, based on them, Sonia Gandhi’s UPA opened up Indian market for Chinese goods, hurting MSMEs and now Congress leader Aiyar wants to whitewash the Chinese invasion, post which the Chinese have been in illegal occupation of 38,000 sq km of Indian territory."

"What explains Congress’s love for the Chinese?" he added.

In the wake of the controversy, while noting that Aiyar had subsequently apologised "unreservedly" for using the term "alleged invasion mistakenly", Congress's Jairam Ramesh also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of giving a "clean chit" to the Chinese for their incursions in May 2020.

"The Chinese invasion of India that began on October 20, 1962 was for real. So too were the Chinese incursions in Ladakh in early May 2020 in which 20 of our soldiers were martyred, and the status quo disturbed," he tweeted late Tuesday night.

"The outgoing PM, however, gave a clean chit publicly to the Chinese on June 19th 2020, seriously weakening our negotiating position. 2,000 sq km of territory, including Depsang and Demchok, remain out of bounds for Indian troops."

Aiyar's latest remark adds to a series of controversial statements he has made in the recent past.

Earlier this month, the veteran Congress leader triggered a massive row after he called on India to respect Pakistan as they have atom bomb power that they may use against us.

Attacking the Centre for not holding a dialogue with Pakistan for the last 10 years, he said if the government doesn’t respect the neighbouring country, it may have to pay a heavy price.

Prime Minister Modi slammed Aiyar for the statement and said "time and again, the Congress has tried to scare its own country".

"They talk about Pakistan's bomb, but the condition of Pakistan is such that they don't know how to keep it and they are looking for a buyer to sell their bombs but no one wants to buy them as people know about the quality," he said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also came down heavily on the Congress leader, saying that the government led by the Prime Minister is not scared of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

The Congress distanced itself from Aiyar's remarks, stating that they did not reflect the party's stance.

In February, he stirred another controversy by calling the Pakistanis the "biggest asset of India".

He had also reiterated a call to open communication channels between the two nations.

Source: India Today

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