War mongering a sales pitch for US weapons?
I agree broadly with the CPM’s Prakash Karat’s interpretation of reactions in India to reports of border incursions by Chinese troops. His charge of a US hand in the exaggerated response — bordering on jingoism—by a section of the media and security experts has about it a ring of certainty. My reading of the situation is based on suspicion, a kind of putting two and two together.
We all know in retrospect that many incidents involving Chinese soldiers were culled out of the past to give them a real-time touch. Perhaps deliberately, the propaganda was unleashed without the perspective that incursions by troops of both countries are quite commonplace on the long, disputed borders known as the Line of Actual Control (LoAC).
Karat says the bogey of India-China conflict was the handiwork of US arms vendors and manufacturers with countless friends and supporters in Indian corporate world, media and the security establishment. The CPM leader might possess more by way of information or evidence. One incident of which I have personal knowledge bears out his charge.
A section of the media went to town when Sonia Gandhi did not meet the Chinese foreign minister while he was in India during the UPA’s first stint in power. Motivated opinion leaders called it a snub in retaliation to the failed Chinese bid to scuttle a nuclear suppliers’ group (NSG) consensus on the Indo-US nuclear deal. The seemingly exciting theory of Sonia, a special guest at the Beijing Olympics, cold-shouldering the Chinese leader was scripted by a top security official who also had it planted in a leading newspaper.
The Congress leadership is aware of the official’s disinformation game that embarrassed them no end. As a rule, Sonia only receives visiting heads of state and government. Her meetings with foreign ministers are a rarity. Exceptions are made only when visitors are family friends of long-standing.
The hyped up India-China tensions have since subsided with both governments clearing the air. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has even taken the blame for not keeping the media adequately informed. But I’m still not able to decipher the role of All India Radio (AIR) that’s expected to be restraint and reasonable on issues impacting ties with our neighbors.
I was a bit concerned and worried one night on hearing AIR go on and on about China as if we were already at war. The only thing comparable since has been RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s October 2 speech. Karat’s argument draws strength also from the very staggered media coverage last week of China hosting Indian army officers across the border.