Mani Shankar Aiyar Sparks Controversy With 'Alleged Chinese Invasion' Remark; BJP Criticizes Congress

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.

Former Union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar recently sparked controversy with his remarks regarding the 1962 Indo-China war, referring to it as an ‘alleged Chinese invasion’. Aiyar made these comments during the launch event 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.

In a purported video of the event, Aiyar can be heard stating, “…In October 1962, the Chinese allegedly invaded India.” This statement stirred debate, considering the historical significance of the 1962 Sino-Indian War, also known as the Indo-China War, which saw Chinese troops crossing the McMahon Line and capturing the Aksai Chin region, leading to a significant conflict between the two nations.

Following the uproar over his remarks, Aiyar promptly issued an apology, expressing regret for using the term ‘alleged’ before ‘Chinese invasion’. He clarified that it was a mistake and extended an unreserved apology for his choice of words.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seized the opportunity to criticize the Congress, alleging a pattern of controversial statements from its leaders. The BJP condemned Aiyar’s remarks as a “brazen attempt at revisionism” and demanded clarity from the Congress regarding its stance on China. BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya highlighted instances of alleged Congress-China ties, questioning the party’s loyalty.

Amidst the controversy, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh distanced the party from Aiyar’s remarks and emphasized that allowances should be made for Aiyar’s age. Ramesh acknowledged Aiyar’s apology but reiterated the gravity of the 1962 invasion, stating that it was a real event. He also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his handling of recent Chinese incursions, accusing him of weakening India’s negotiating position.

Ramesh’s response underscores the complex political dynamics surrounding historical events and their interpretation in contemporary discourse. The incident highlights the sensitivity of historical narratives and the importance of responsible rhetoric, especially from public figures.

Overall, Aiyar’s remarks and the ensuing reactions underscore the ongoing debates over India’s historical legacy, diplomatic relations, and national security concerns. It serves as a reminder of the need for nuanced discussions and respectful dialogue in addressing complex historical events and their implications for the present.

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