China bashing: Is this Rajnath's new job in the Modi Sarkar?

In the past decade no union home minister or any cabinet minister for that matter has taken on China as pro-actively as Rajnath Singh has.

Rajeev Sharma November 22, 2014 08:15:38 IST
China bashing: Is this Rajnath's new job in the Modi Sarkar?

A new trend seems to be emerging in the Narendra Modi dispensation wherein union home minister Rajnath Singh seems to be having a new role of China bashing.

In the past decade no union home minister or any cabinet minister for that matter has taken on China as pro-actively as Rajnath Singh has.

In his latest China-specific hard talk on 20 November, Singh said China had illegally occupied Aksai Chin and ticked off Beijing saying that even though India wants to maintain good relations with its neighbours, the gesture needed to be reciprocated.

China bashing Is this Rajnaths new job in the Modi Sarkar

Every word spoken by Rajnath Singh publicly means a lot and has political implications. AFP

Singh made these remarks during his election rally in Leh (Ladakh) which goes for polls in the first phase of polling for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections on 25 November. After that, Singh posted a number of tweets on the micro blogging social media site Twitter.

Sample some of his tweets:
· China has illegally occupied Aksai Chin & incursions by Chinese troops do not augur well in maintaining cordial relations with our neighbour.
· India wants to maintain good relations with its neighbours but the gesture should be reciprocated by its neighbours.
· Congress lost Tibet to China which acted as the ‘Buffer State’ between both the countries & Pakistan handed over Aksai Chin area to China.
· India lost precious territory to China and Pakistan due to wrong policies of the Congress.

Clearly Singh is no voice from the wilderness. He is India’s home minister. Every word of his spoken publicly means a lot and has political implications.

Just about a month ago, or 16 October to be precise, Singh had warned China not to threaten India. Singh’s remark had then come after China expressed concern over India's plans to build a 2,000-km road along the international border in Arunachal Pradesh and Singh had hit back saying nobody should threaten or warn India.

While addressing the 30th Raising Day ceremony of the National Security Guards in Manesar (Haryana), Singh had remarked thus: "No one can give a warning to India. India is a powerful nation now."

Singh’s China-specific outburst had come in response to a statement by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei who had said: "The border issue between China and India is a problem left over by the colonial past. Both China and India need to work together to solve this problem…Before the border problem is solved, we hope the Indian side will not take any action that could further complicate the relevant issue, so as to preserve the current situation of peace and stability in the border area and create conditions for the final settlement of the border issue."

Rajnath Singh serial remarks on or about China are extremely significant. This is the first time in about 16 years when a senior Indian cabinet minister has dared to against China. In the immediate aftermath of the India’s Pokhran II nuclear tests in 1998, the then defence minister George Fernandes had branded China as “India’s enemy number one" and had said that the nuclear tests were directed more against China rather than Pakistan. However, Fernandes had sought to wriggle out of these remarks and denied having made any such remarks.

But Rajnath Singh has gone several steps ahead of Fernandes. He has ticked off China at public functions. Moreover, this time around he has gone on record with such remarks by posting several tweets which he cannot deny unless he claims that his Twitter account has been hacked.

But Singh is unlikely to do any such thing. His warnings to China seem inevitably orchestrated and choreographed by the most powerful man of India today – Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This seems to be the larger game plan of the Narendra Modi-Ajit Doval combine. The idea is to pay back China in the same coin by hard talk from a senior cabinet minister (who is not a point person in dealing with China) and yet keep the India-China bonhomie intact.

Imagine the damage to India-China relations if such hard-hitting remarks had come from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or National Security Advisor Ajit Doval!

Politically, this indicates a fine working relationship between Modi and Rajnath Singh despite rumours of all sorts.

On the flip side, one will have to wait and see how the Chinese react to Rajanth Singh’s remarks.

China is not known to take lying low uncharitable remarks from senior Indian ministers. If China were to keep quiet, an unlikely scenario, it would be almost a paradigm shift in its policy towards India.

Updated Date:

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