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PM Modi and Xi Jinping meet officially for the first time since the Galwan standoff: Why is Modi not showing ‘Laal-Aankh’ to China?

The ambiguity regarding the Indo-China consensus can no longer prevail, and the flag bearers of 'bold diplomacy' must assure our sovereignty by breaking China's arrogance.

In 2013, the then-Gujarat Chief Minister and one of the strongest contestants for the Prime Minister’s chair, Narendra Modi, during one of his electoral rallies, tore into the UPA government and grilled India’s foreign minister Salman Khurshid, saying the latter should have raised issues on Indo-China border disputes by showing a “laal-aankh” (red ‘fiery’ eyes) to the Chinese dignitaries during his (Khurshid’s) Beijing visit. 

Modi spoke his discontentment at Khurshid, claiming he had appeased and sugarcoated his words during the dialogue instead of showing them a “laal-aankh.” Such direct and sharp attacks on the then-ruling government had played a cardinal role in fostering NaMo’s strongman image. 

However, most of us were oblivious to an apparent double-dealing by PM Modi until a former BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy revealed that Modi had been to China twelve times during his Chief Ministership alone! Modi, the flag-bearer of the “Laal-Aankh” policy, had even signed a visitor’s card in Mandarin script during one such visit.

On August 24th, PM Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping and held a dialogue on the sidelines of the recently held BRICS Summit. However, before you venture out to watch another TV News program airing specifically to brainwash you into believing a fictitious tale of ‘PM Modi calling down to China,’ familiarise yourself with the gravity of the situation and introspect why the Modi government kept us in the dark for so long after the Galwaan standoff in 2020.

The Galwan Valley standoff and shrouded discussions before the meet

In April-May 2020, China violated India’s LAC at Eastern Ladakh, and a strained standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops followed. In the course of events, twenty Indian Jawans were immortalised, and five Chinese troops met their doomsday. Although the Indian army maintains that over forty Chinese troops had gotten gunned down, China never ratified the claim.

India-China Border Conflict at Galwan Valley. Galwan Valley Martyrs
Galwan Valley Martyrs

Subramanian Swamy claimed that India had lost approximately 4600 Kilometre-square of undisputed land to China, with the Chinese consolidating complete control over the critical Depsang range. The same Galwan valley that our jawans had liberated after a gory battle got recaptured again, and now the Chinese are planning to seize India’s Chushul airport within two to three months.

The Indian army can no longer access twenty-six of the sixty-five patrolling points near the LAC, forcing it to keep its guard down. India has also stumbled on the diplomatic scale, as China’s obstinacy has compelled our diplomats to agree to construct a buffer zone 15-20 kilometres inside the Indian territory

In November 2022, during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, Prime Minister Modi had apparently met Xi Jinping. Although the cameras captured the frames of the rendezvous, its content and deliberation never surfaced despite the opposition pressing to know it.

Later, in a meeting between all the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of the BRICS countries on July 24th, 2023, where Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Wan Yi met. According to a press report, the ongoing Indo-China border dispute at Ladakh was deliberated. NSA Doval clarified that India stood resolute before China and asserted that the “strategic relationship” between India and China was hurt due to unprovoked Chinese aggression across the LAC.

One day later, on July 25th, the Chinese Finance Minister made a claim that was a bolt from the blue for many Indians. He claimed that a consensus was established between India and China due to a consultation between the two NSAs. 

Chaos erupted, and the opposition and Pressure Groups got livid about why the Modi government did not divulge such critical information. They demanded answers from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), asking them to clarify the Chinese Foreign Minister’s crucial claim. India’s MEA yielded under pressure and ratified the claims two days later.

Since the Galwan Valley standoff, there have been as many as 19 rounds of discussion between India and China, and the content and conclusion of none were revealed! Bizarrely, it’s only when an autocratic country like China spoke about the prospect of such discussions that Indians came to know about it. Many were fuming at India’s corporate media for their blatant failure in seeking the government’s accountability.

Modi-Jinping meet at Johannesberg

During the recently held BRICS summit, August 22nd to 24th, there remained speculations regarding whether Prime Minister Modi would converse with Chinese President Xi Jinping. India’s foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra maintained that PM Modi’s programs during the summit had not been finalised (a day before the Prime Minister boarded his flight to the summit venue at Johannesburg, South Africa). 

However, India’s top diplomat did not refute any claims of a potential bilateral meeting between Modi and Jinping. In the context of the Indo-China joint discourse on the border dispute last week, the chances of a meeting between the premiers of India and China were high.

On the last day of the BRICS meeting, Modi and Jinping finally engaged in an official dialogue that Beijing clarified was held on PM Modi’s insistence.

Although the intrinsic details of the discussion have not been publicised, Kwatra divulged that “The Prime Minister underlined that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and observing and respecting the LAC are essential for the normalisation of the India-China relationship.” The top bureaucrat revealed that the two leaders had agreed to direct their subordinates to work toward achieving an “expeditious disengagement and de-escalation.”

The Chinese foreign ministry claimed that the leaders deliberated candidly and had an “in-depth exchange of views on current China-India relations and other questions of shared interest.” Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has apparently stressed the necessity to improve Indo-China relations with the broader perspective of pursuing a common interest for the two most populous countries in their minds.

The nuances of diplomatic talks are far more layered and complex than rudimentary social chit-chats, so what the leaders meant by pledging to “intensify efforts” is uncertain. The ground reality commands an immediate and unquestionable retreat of the Chinese troops from the Indian turf, and anything less than that is beyond the question.

The opposition’s demand for a debate on the Indo-China standoff keeps getting snubbed

During Rahul Gandhi‘s visit to Ladakh, he met with the locals a few kilometres from the LAC. He mentioned that the locals were wary of the Chinese encroachment in their lands and that the Prime Minister had previously lied to the nation when he asserted that “no one had encroached on our borders” and gave a clean chit to China despite its hostilities.

On February 21st, India’s Minister for External Affairs, Dr S Jaishankar, during an interview with an ANI reporter, unabashedly maintained that as China was a “huge economy,” it was only a matter of “common sense” for a smaller economy (referring to India) to seek a diplomatic stand instead of waging war. We are at sea as to how such a stand co-exists with PM Modi’s flagship “laal-aankh” policy, where his foreign minister does not even flinch from appeasing China.

The opposition vehemently asks: If China has not encroached on the Indian turf, why has the Modi government pursued 19 rounds of talks with Chinese dignitaries on the border dispute? Did the PM lie?

On December 20th, 2021, Congress MP Manish Tiwari tweeted to illustrate how Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and the former Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu had turned down seventeen questions/debates on Indo-China relations, citing a breach of “specious grounds of national security!” Who will raise questions in the context of safeguarding national security, if not the parliamentarians?


Defence Analyst Sushant Singh divulged the precarious nature of India’s “resistance” to China. He illustrated how, despite China occupying 4600 kilometre-square of India’s undisputed land, Indo-China trade remained immune. Recently, India’s trade with China reached a leviathan of USD 120 billion, whose 87% comprised India’s imports from China!

Singh illustrated how 10% of all crude oil imports in India got paid through the Chinese Yuan currency and NOT the US dollar. A chunk of India’s solar panels and Electric Vehicles (EVs) are intrinsically dependent on Chinese technology and engineers. With China’s AIIB (the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) directing 26% of its total loans only to India, economic ties between India and China are not only strong but also critically lopsided.

At a juncture when India’s neighbours also seem to favour China, PM Modi’s diplomacy with the red dragon looks anything but resolute. We endorse that nothing lies above the sovereignty of India. China’s annexation of such a vast area of land is a blatant attack on our country’s freedom, and the elected government must elaborately answer the questions raised inside the parliament on crucial grounds of national security.  

Declassifying data and empowering the nation to assess the reality on the ground cannot be shrugged off at any cost, even if it bares the incapacity of the sitting Modi government. A fake sense of comfort and fabricated imagery of a “strongman” will only make India vulnerable to the danger looming over its sovereignty. 

Let us fulfil our duty and be vigilant about the Modi government’s handling of the China crisis.  

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Kunwar Devender Singh

Kunwar is a passionate writer, philanthropist and a social worker. He is the founder of Brave Hearts (India's First Crisis Helpline for Indian Armed Forces), Digpu News Network, Save Earth and Digital Punch.

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