Para-wise rebuttal by Journalist Ajay Shukla of the purported interview of Gen V K Singh by Shiv Kunal Verma, as posted on latter’s Facebook
Ajai Shukla, Indian journalist (Presently writing for Business Standard) and a retired Colonel of Indian Army, in his blog states that it is wrong to state that People Liberation Army of China (PLA) is present only Chinese territory and makes it clear that effectively India ceded the area to China where the PLA had sat down in.
By Ajai Shukla
HOW UNFORTUNATE THAT SOMEONE WHO ONCE OCCUPIED THE RESPECTED OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF (COAS) HAS APPARENTLY BEEN GIVEN – AND HAS REGRETTABLY ACCEPTED – THE TASK OF COVERING UP MULTIPLE GOVERNMENT FALSEHOODS RELATING TO THE CHINESE MILITARY INTRUSIONS INTO LADAKH.
INTERESTINGLY, SELF-APPOINTED “NATIONALISTS” ARE ENDORSING THE CHINESE POSITION THAT THE PLA IS PRESENT ONLY IN CHINESE TERRITORY – EFFECTIVELY CEDING TO CHINA THE AREA THE PLA HAS SAT DOWN IN. AND REPORTERS AND ANALYSTS LIKE MYSELF, WHO HAVE REPORTED THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH THAT THE PLA IS IN INDIAN TERRITORY – ARE BEING PAINTED AS TRAITORS!
ACTUALLY, IT IS HARDLY SURPRISING THAT SHRI VK SINGH HAS ACCEPTED THE INGLORIOUS JOB OF ATTACKING A FORMER ARMY COLONEL WHOSE REPORTAGE IS INCONVENIENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT. REMEMBER, VK SINGH HAS EARLIER DEMEANED THE OFFICE OF ARMY CHIEF BY ACCEPTING THE ROLE OF A JUNIOR MINISTER – FIRST OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS AND NOW OF JUNIOR MINISTER OF ROAD TRANSPORT AND HIGHWAYS.
WHAT A COMEDOWN FOR THE CHIEF OF SUCH A PROUD ARMY.
I SHOULD ACTUALLY JUST IGNORE HIS DIATRIBE… DICTATED TO ONE SHIV KUNAL VERMA, WHO HAS POSTED THIS ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE. BUT I AM CORRECTING THIS SLANDER ANYWAY, SO THAT NOBODY MISTAKES SILENCE FOR ACQUIESCENCE.
MY COMMENTS, INTERPOSED AT RELEVANT PLACES IN THIS “INTERVIEW”, ARE IN RED BLOCK CAPITALS BELOW.
General V K Singh, former Chief of the Army Staff who is now presently the Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways talks to Shiv Kunal Verma, the author of 1962: The War That Wasn’t with reference to the interview conducted by journalist Karan Thapar (son of General Pran Thapar, who was the Army Chief in ’62) and Ajai Shukla, a former Army officer turned journalist with close political connections. [LET ME CATEGORICALLY STATE THAT I HAVE NO POLITICAL CONNECTIONS OR AFFILIATIONS. I AM A PROFESSIONAL, A JOURNALIST WHO CRITIQUES POLITICIANS OF ALL PARTIES. THIS INLUDES THE CONGRESS.]
SKV: Have you seen the interview? It’s sweeping through Social Media and along with comments from another former Army officer, Pravin Sawhney, it’s painting a grim picture.
VKS: I’ve seen the transcripts and am aware of what these two and some others are saying. Frankly, I am absolutely shocked at the devious manner in which information is being put out by them. Neither Shukla nor Sawhney have a clue about the ground situation [ACTUALLY EVERYTHING I HAVE REPORTED ABOUT THE GROUND SITUATION, WHILE INITIALLY REFUTED BY “OFF THE RECORD” GOVT SPOKESPERSONS, HAS TURNED OUT CORRECT]. They left the army decades ago… Sawhney from the Raj Bhavan in Punjab and Shukla from Nagrota [I DIDN’T LEAVE THE ARMY FROM NAGROTA, I LEFT FROM BABINA. A FORMER ARMY CHIEF, NOW A JUNIOR MINISTER SHOULD AT LEAST BE ABLE TO GET SIMPLE, OBTAINABLE, VERIFIABLE FACTS CORRECT] to build on his family connections with the Gandhis [I LEFT THE ARMY IN 2001, WHEN THE BJP WAS IN POWER. MY ALLEGED “CONNECTIONS WITH THE GANDHIS”, WHICH DON’T EXIST ANYWAY, WOULD HAVE BEEN OF NO USE TO ME]. They are using the credibility their rank gives them to not only peddle lies [THAT’S A BIT RICH COMING FROM SOMEONE WHO MISUSED HIS POSITION AS THE COAS AS A SPRINBOARD TO JOIN POLITICS], they are playing a very dangerous game where they want to create a fear syndrome in a bid to promote themselves [I’M NOT PROMOTING MYSELF, I’M ACCURATELY REPORTING A WORRISOME NATIONAL SECURITY SITUATION. AS THE ALL-OUT ATTACK IN THIS INTERVIEW DEMONSTRATES, THIS IS NOT THE BEST WAY TO PROMOTE ONESELF].
SKV: By using and interpreting satellite images, the arguments being put forward are that we have lost a considerable amount of territory.
VKS: As I said its being very cleverly done. If you remember one of the first images put out by Shukla showed the Chinese sitting literally on the Galwan-Shyok junction, controlling the heights on the northern side of the Galwan Valley. Having got everyone’s attention, including a former Northern Army Commander long since retired [IN FACT, TWO FORMER NORTHERN ARMY COMMANDERS LT GEN HS PANAG AND LT GEN D.S. HOODA, BOTH HIGHLY RESPECTED COMMANDERS AND ANALYSTS HAVE COMMENTED ON THE WORRYING NATURE OF CHINESE INTRUSIONS], that annotated image quietly disappeared [COMPLETELY UNTRUE. I HAVE NEVER REMOVED AN IMAGE. HOW COME NOBODY HAS RECORDED THE IMAGE BEFORE IT WAS REMOVED?] and new ones appeared showing the area of conflict around PP 14. This was a quantum shift backwards by nearly 8 to 10 km. [ONCE AGAIN, A FORMER ARMY CHIEF GETTING VERIFIABLE MILITARY FACTS TOTALLY WRONG. THE DISTANCE FROM THE GALWAN RIVER ESTUARY TO PP14 IS LESS THAN 5 KM. TRY USING GOOGLE EARTH] By using satellite images and projecting their make belief fantasies based on their perception of the LAC, what they are trying to do is obvious to any trained eye.
SKV: I think you need to elaborate on this. Most people had no idea where the Galwan Valley was…
VKS: That there is a real threat from the Chinese build up there can be no doubt. They have been doing this for years, probing, looking for perceived weaknesses. That Communist China’s core ideology is expansionist there is no doubt. We are dealing with a powerful adversary here and frankly the Chinese are playing a game of chess. We have certain short comings but we are not push overs by any stretch of imagination. Even in 1962 as you correctly point out in your book, we lost not to the Chinese but to ourselves. [ACTUALLY, THERE WERE LOTS OF SOLDIERS ATTACKING US IN 1962 WHO LOOKED AWFULLY LIKE CHINESE! WE DID INDEED LOSE TO THE CHINESE. OUR INTERNAL WEAKNESSES WERE THE CAUSE OF THAT LOSS]
As for the Galwan Valley the Chinese have since 1962 controlled the major part of the Valley [ANOTHER BLATANT FALSEHOOD THAT UNDERMINES OUR NATIONAL INTEREST BY CREATING THE BASIS FOR CHINA TO CLAIM GALWAN]. The area under us, where we perceive the LAC to be, gives us control of the final few kilometres. There is a major camp where PLA troops have concentrated some 10 km behind the LAC on their side and they have made another camp ahead of that. We are not fools… disengagement is to calm things down and we know where our immediate strategic and tactical goals are [IS VK SINGH SAYING THAT SURRENDERING TERRITORY TO THE CHINESE IS A CLEVER WAY TO “CALM THINGS DOWN”? WELL GOOD LUCK WITH GETTING BACK YOUR TERRITORY FROM THE CHINESE LATER]. No reason for us to compromise on that. Shukla says no one has the guts to put his name on the new alignment… well, he can take it from me PP 14 is under our control [TAKE IT FROM YOU? WHY? YOU’RE A JUNIOR MINISTER WHO HAS NOT BEEN TRUSTED WITH THE DEFENCE PORTFOLIO, DESPITE 40-ODD YEARS IN THE ARMY! PARDON ME, BUT I’D RATHER TAKE IT FROM THE DEFENCE MINISTER MR RAJNATH SINGH, OR SOMEBODY ELSE WHO IS QUALIFIED TO SPEAK ON THIS SUBJECT] and the Chinese do not have any direct observation of the Shyok Valley or the road. If that doesn’t satisfy him and his handlers [I DON’T HAVE ANY HANDLERS, BUT IT WOULD APPEAR THAT VK SINGH DOES], I do not know what will.
SKV: What about the other sectors? Pangong Tso, Hot Springs, the Depsang Valley… DBO… all throw backs to 1962.
VKS: As you and I both know, the Chinese have been playing this game relentlessly. Doklam as you pointed out in the Sunday Guardian yesterday was also a classic case of the Army stepping in and blocking the Chinese as they tried to push the road further towards the tri-junction. The Eastern Army Commander at that time acted decisively and that was the end of that [ACTUALLY, THAT WAS NOT THE END OF THAT. AFTER A “MUTUAL DISENGAGEMENT” AND PULL OUT, THE CHINESE RETURNED TO DOKLAM AND ARE STILL THERE TODAY. THIS HAS BEEN PUBLICLY STATED BY THE FORMER NSA MR SHIVSHANKAR MENON. THE GOVT HAS MERELY SAT AND DONE NOTHING]. This same lot created a huge hue and cry saying the Chinese had since done this and that and in the long run this and that had happened. It’s laughable, but if the Chinese have built a few structures there, good for us. It gives us clear targets for we are sitting on the heights [THIS IS A NOVEL NEW RATIONALE FOR JUSTIFYING LOSS OF TERRITORY: “THE ENEMY IS NOW OUR TARGETS” DOES ANYONE REMEMBER COMICAL ALI!!].
The Chinese have pushed into what at best can be called the grey areas between their perception of the LAC and ours [AGAIN, A GOVERNMENT MINISTER IS ENDORSING THE CHINESE POSITION. MR VK SINGH, ARE YOU ACTUALY STATING THAT INDIA’S CLAIMED LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL IS NOT OUR NATIONAL CLAIM LINE – BECAUSE IT IS IN A “GREY AREA”?] We have already called their bluff and now negotiations will carry on to push them back. The Sumdrong [ANOTHER FACTUAL ERROR… IT’S SUMDORONG CHU), or as the Chinese call it Sangduoluo, the talks went on for seven years, but we stood our ground and got what we wanted [WE DID NOT GET WHAT WE WANTED. THE CHINESE ARE STILL THERE. GET YOUR BASIC FACTS CORRECT PLEASE WHILE COMPOSING SLANDER, OR YOUR SLANDEROUS POINTS LOSE CREDIBILITY]. Give it time… I also do not want to get into specifics. This is not a cricket match where a ball by ball commentary has to be given.
SKV: Shukla in particular was involved in the Siachen sell out earlier [COMPLETELY UNTRUE. I HAVE NOT BEEN PART OF ANY SIACHEN SELL OUT. LAST I HEARD, WE WERE IN FULL CONTROL OF THE SALTORO RIDGE AND THE GLACIER. IN FACT, IN MY WRITING, I HAVE ADVOCATED AGAINST ANY DEAL ON SIACHEN]. We were all quite appalled he along with the others were not arrested for what clearly amounted to treason. You had put in a formal complaint to the MHA at the time.
VKS: Not just MHA, but to the Press Council and to the Delhi Police as well. Mr Sushilkumar Shinde was then the Home Minister… how could he act against some of their own? [GIVEN THAT THE BJP HAS BEEN IN POWER FOR THE LAST SIX YEARS AND HAVE NOT ACTED ON THIS EITHER, CLEARLY THE PARTY AND THE NDA GOVERNMENT KNOWS BETTER THAN YOU DO. OR MAYBE THEY’RE JUST NOT LOOSE CANNONS LIKE YOU?].Shekhar Gupta was also one of the characters who had a price tag attached to his pen… ‘journalism of courage’ I think he called it. He was sitting on the Press Council, maybe even heading it. Look what these people did to the TSD among other things…
Look treason is treason… I think these cases should be looked at even now [I REPEAT MY OBSERVATION ABOVE.] Quite frankly the Siachen sell-out by itself is something that needs to be enquired into. From what I remember once they were exposed the facts were quite cut and dry. You give them a free rope this rubbish will carry on ad nauseam. It’s pretty obvious some one sitting somewhere is coordinating this entire exercise [WHO IS VK SINGH TRYING TO BLAME … THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE? OR THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL?]
SKV: Why not give a regular update officially. I suggested that yesterday in my article in the Sunday Guardian…
VKS: Well, as a one-time thing since these chaps are hell bent on spreading panic, maybe. Briefings have a time and place and not because some ignoramuses are clamouring for it on behalf of their handlers. [NO, ACTUALLY BRIEFINGS ARE HELD PRECISELY TO PUT THE FACTS ON THE TABLE AND REDUCE THE SPACE FOR IGNORAMUSES TO SPREAD FALSE NEWS. BUT COULD IT HAVE BEEN THAT THE FACTS WERE TOO INCONVENIENT TO BE PUT ON THE TABLE?] But I don’t see the Chinese telling us through any self-styled experts what their game plan is. The people in question here are all intelligent characters and they are doing what they are doing with their eyes wide open. The language and terms being used by Ajai Shukla is mirroring Chinese perceptions. [ACTUALLY, AJAI SHUKLA CONSISTENTLY REBUTTED CHINESE PERCEPTIONS BY REVEALING THAT THE PLA WAS IN INDIAN TERRITORY. THE CHINESE LIE – WHICH WAS THAT THE PLA IS IN CHINESE TERRITORY – WAS STEADFASTLY REPEATED BY THE GOVT, INCLUDING BY VK SINGH ABOVE. THEREBY, THESE OFFICIALS ENDORSED THE CHINESE POSITION THAT THE ENTIRE AREA THE PLA WAS PRESENT IN WAS CHINESE TERRITORY] The trouble is these guys are also hiding under the freedom accorded to the press under our constitution [YES, LET’S DO AWAY WITH FREEDOM OF THE PRESS!]. As far as I am concerned, they are traitors… and I don’t use that word off the cuff or lightly! [OF COURSE NOT. YOU’RE RENOWNED FOR WEIGHING YOUR WORDS] We can all see the frustration building up among certain political circles. These are tough times but the self-styled leaders of the opposition and the Chinese together need to create as many cracks to make the government of the day look vulnerable… in the case of the former they must remember the saying… don’t cut the nose to spite the face!
[AMAZING: THE PEOPLE AGREEING WITH THE CHINESE ARE STYLING THEMSELVES AS PATRIOTS… AND THOSE ACCUSING THE CHINESE OF OCCUPYING INDIAN TERRITORY ARE TRAITORS. GOOD LUCK WITH SQUARING THAT CIRCLE. THE PEOPLE OF INDIA ARE NOT SUCH FOOLS THAT THEY CANNOT SEE THAT CONTRADICTION]
Business Standard writer
(The NFA Post took permission From Ajay Shukla to reproduce the version he is substantiating for a wider discussion of Chinese aggression in Indian territories. It is the duty of every citizen to be vigilant against those who are waging a war against the country at a time when India is focussed on its efforts to become a developed nation and erase poverty by giving basic amenities for all.)