China was the central theme, this Dusshera. While Defence Minister Rajnath Singh unequivocally asserted that India wants an end to border tension but will not cede an inch of land, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was brutally honest when he said India needs to be more powerful than China in terms of military preparedness, adding that the world is aware of the latter’s expansionist tendencies.
However, the most cryptic comment came from NSA Ajit Doval. He said that India will fight where the threat emerges and will fight for the greater good, not for itself. TV channels lost no time in latching onto the remark, 'joining' the dots and linking it to China.
Of the three, government officials felt obliged to clarify only the NSA’s statements. News agency ANI quoted these officials as saying that Doval was speaking purely in a civilizational and spiritual context and not referring to any country or specific situation.
The officials said any attempt to twist the NSA's statement, made in a spiritual context, was uncalled for as he was not speaking about either China or the ongoing conflict in the eastern Ladakh sector.
Doval’s statement was reproduced by the ANI. It reads: "You said we have never attacked anyone and there are many views about it. If there is a threat to the country, then we should have attacked as it is important to save the country…
"We will fight where you want us to fight -- that is also not mandatory. We fight where we feel the threat is coming. We have never done it for selfish reasons. We will fight a war on our land and others' land too but not for our selfish reasons but for the highest good of others," he had further stated.
The NSA also suggested that states are bound by physical dimensions but the nation is an emotional connect which is bound by the common thread of spirituality and culture in which there is a collective sense of pride; the role of our gurus and spiritual centres is to guard this larger sense of collective identity.
As against this, Bhagwat’s statement was rooted in the current situation and he called for India to grow bigger than China in power and scope. "We intend to be friendly with all. This is our nature," he said, adding, "mistaking our benevolence for weakness and attempts to disintegrate or weaken us by sheer brute force is unacceptable... if push comes to shove, we will not fall short of alertness, firmness and readiness."
His remarks unleashed criticism from an expected quarter. "Deep inside, Mr Bhagwat knows the truth. He is just scared to face it. The truth is China has taken our land and GOI & RSS have allowed it," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
PM HAS DECIDED THE WAR DATE
The most controversial remark of the day emanated from BJP's Uttar Pradesh chief Swatantra Dev Singh. He said PM Modi has “decided” when the country would be at war with Pakistan and China. That was provocation enough for Congress leader Shashi Tharoor to take a dig at the prime minister for “planning a war” against an enemy which he said Modi has refused even to name."Sambandhit tithi tai hai," Swatantra Dev Singh said in Hindi, claiming that a decision has been taken even on the date. Singh was speaking at an event at the home of BJP MLA Sanjay Yadav, who later released the video. “Amazing,” Shashi Tharoor tweeted, reacting to the UP BJP chief's comments. “So the PM (who will not even name the state that has encroached upon our land) is planning a war against an Unnamed Enemy, over territory he claims has never been taken, on a date that only he knows?” "So is this what he meant by ‘minimal government'!?” the Congress MP added.