New Delhi: After external affairs minister S. Jaishankar said that India cannot pick a fight with China because the latter has a bigger economy, military veterans have accused the Narendra Modi government of having a “defeatist attitude” and “bowing down to a bully”.
In a podcast with ANI editor-in-chief Smita Prakash on Wednesday, Jaishankar said: “Look, they (China) are the bigger economy. What am I going to do? As a smaller economy, I am going to pick up a fight with the bigger economy? It is not a question of being reactionary, it’s a question of common sense….”
He added that India and China have an agreement not to bring large number of troops to the border, and asked if India should violate that agreement.
Former Navy chief Arun Prakash, a veteran of the 1971 war, tweeted: “If relative size of economies is seen as arbiter of int’l relations, how come nations like Cuba, N Korea & Iran thumb their noses at the USA or Vietnam at China? India, as a democracy, nuclear weapon state & significant economic & mil power must stand firm against hegemony.”
If relative size of economies is seen as arbiter of int’l relations, how come nations like Cuba, N Korea & Iran thumb their noses at the USA or Vietnam at China? India, as a democracy, nuclear weapon state & significant economic & mil power must stand firm against hegemony. https://t.co/ayK4P9LiEG
— Arun Prakash (@arunp2810) February 23, 2023
Major General Shail Jha (retired) tweeted: “Mr Jaishankar should know that its not India but China which is picking the fight.”
The veteran added: “Economy or no economy, if we bow down to a bully, we are abandoning our self-respect. Is it acceptable? What a shame. And the guy is being hailed as the greatest FM. It’s cowardice.”
Mr Jaishankar should know that its not India but China which is picking the fight. Economy or no economy if we bow down to a bully, we are abandoning our self respect. Is it acceptable… what a shame. And the guy is being hailed as the greatest FM. Its cowardice.
— Maj Gen Shail Jha (Veteran) (@shelljaws1334) February 23, 2023
Anil Duhoon, who retired as a lieutenant colonel, said in a tweet: “China is a bigger economy, we cannot go to war with China. That’s why @narendramodi gave clean chit to China? Na koi ghusa hai….. 56 inch and LalAnkh?? Surrendered.”
“China is a bigger Economy, We can not go to War with China”. MEA
56 “ and LalAankh ??
— Lt Col Anil Duhoon (Veteran) (@LtColAnilDuhoon) February 23, 2023
Speaking to The Telegraph, a former lieutenant general said Jaishankar’s statement was “shocking” and was reminiscent of “unconditional surrender”.
“What happened to the so-called muscular nationalism that this government projects in election speeches? Modi’s self-declared muscular nationalism has now capitulated to Chinese aggression and bullying,” the veteran said.
Speaking about Chinese intrusions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the veteran told the newspaper that instead of “asking the Chinese troops to retreat”, the “New India under Modiji agreed to create buffer zones within Indian territories in eastern Ladakh as part of the disengagement agreement, thus ceding further territory to China”.
A retired colonel said Jaishankar’s “defeatist statement” spoke volumes about Modi’s China policy. “Where is Mr 56-inch Modi’s muscular nationalism when it comes to China?” the former colonel asked.