Mani Shankar Aiyar apologises after ‘Chinese allegedly invaded India in 1962’ remark kicks up row


PTI, May 29, 2024, 8:08 AM IST

Mani Shankar Iyer (Credit: PTI / File)

New Delhi: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks using the word ‘alleged’ for the Chinese invasion in 1962 kicked up a political row late Tuesday with the BJP calling it a ‘brazen attempt at revisionism’.

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’.

Ramesh also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of giving a ‘clean chit’ to the Chinese for their incursions in May 2020.

According to a purported video of an event at the Foreign Correspondents Club this evening, Aiyar, while narrating an anecdote, said, ‘…In October 1962, the Chinese allegedly invaded India.’

Later, in a brief statement, Aiyar said, ‘I unreservedly apologise for having mistakenly used the word ‘alleged’ before ‘Chinese invasion’ at the Foreign Correspondents Club this evening.’

Aiyar, who has stoked controversies in the past with his comments, made the remarks at the launch of the book ‘Nehru’s First Recruits’.

BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya slammed the Congress over Aiyar’s remarks.

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

‘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,’ he alleged.

What explains ‘Congress’s love for the Chinese?’ Malviya asked.

Ramesh, in the wake of the controversy, 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.

‘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,’ Ramesh 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.

 

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