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‘Chinese allegedly invaded India in 1962': Mani Shankar Aiyar triggers fresh row, BJP hits out at Congress

BJP leaders attacked the Congress calling Aiyar’s remark a "brazen attempt at revisionism". Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh pleaded that 'allowances must be made for his age."

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi New Delhi Updated on: May 29, 2024 7:09 IST
Mani Shankar Aiyar
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar

New Delhi: Former Union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday triggered a fresh row after he referred to the 1962 Indo-China war as an 'alleged Chinese invasion'. According to a purported video of an event at the Foreign Correspondents Club, Aiyar, while narrating an anecdote, said, “…In October 1962, the Chinese allegedly invaded India.” 

The 1962 Indo-China War, also known as the Sino-Indian War, was a significant conflict between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India that took place from October to November 1962. Chinese troops launched an attack across the McMahon Line and captured the Aksai Chin region, which belongs to India. The war was primarily fought in the harsh, mountainous terrain of the Himalayas, where both nations had longstanding border disputes. 

Aiyar issues apology for 'mistake'

Aiyar, who has stoked controversies in the past with his comments, made the remarks at the launch of Kallol Bhattacherjee's book 'Nehru's First Recruits: The Diplomats Who Built Independent India's Foreign Policy' at the Foreign Correspondents Club in New Delhi.

Later, in a brief statement, Aiyar, who had also recounted that his entry into the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) was reversed after reports that he, studying in the UK then, was engaged in fund collection for the Chinese making him rush to India to clarify matters, said, "I unreservedly apologise for having mistakenly used the word 'alleged' before 'Chinese invasion' at the Foreign Correspondents Club this evening."

BJP hit out at Congress

The BJP criticised the Congress following another controversial remark by one of its senior leaders, who has often embarrassed his party with outspoken comments about PM Narendra Modi and his views on Pakistan. The BJP demanded that the Congress clarify its "love for the Chinese."

BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya said in a post on X said, "Mani Shankar Aiyar, speaking at the FCC, during the launch of a book called Nehru’s First Recruits, refers to Chinese invasion in 1962 as ‘alleged’. This is a brazen attempt at revisionism.

"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?” Malviya asked.

Congress distances itself from Mani Shankar Aiyar's​ remark 

Amid the controversy, Congress distanced itself from the senior leader’s remarks. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh pointed out that Aiyar had subsequently apologised 'unreservedly' for using the term 'alleged invasion' 'mistakenly,' and that the party distances itself from the 'original phraseology'. He pleaded that 'allowances must be made for his age.'

He said, “Allowances must be made for his (Aiyar’s) age. The INC distances itself from his original phraseology.” “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 40 of our soldiers were martyred and the status quo disturbed,” he said.

Ramesh also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of giving a 'clean chit' to the Chinese for their incursions in May 2020. “The outgoing PM, however, gave a clean chit publicly to the Chinese on June 19th 2020, seriously weakening our negotiating position. 2000 sq km of territory including Depsang and Demchok remain out of bounds for Indian troops,” he said in a post on X.

He also reposted his old remarks in which he had accused PM Modi of giving a clean chit to China. 

Also Read: 'India should respect Pakistan, they have nuclear bombs,' says Mani Shankar Aiyar

Also Read: Congress distances itself from Mani Shankar Aiyar's 'India should respect Pakistan' remark


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