Monday 24 January 2022
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NYT Piece That Army Dismissed Classic Case Of Sham Journalism

The most telling disclaimer the NYT article carries is the description of its authors and contributors, a mix of China-based writers and India baiters


Surajit Dasgupta
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sirf News Surajit Dasgupta has been a science correspondent in The Statesman, senior editor in The Pioneer, special correspondent in Money Life, the first national affairs editor of Swarajya, executive editor of Hindusthan Samachar and desk head of MyNation

India has denied the report in The New York Times (NYT) that claimed some Indian soldiers were unaccounted for or missing after a violent clash in Ladakh’s Galvan Valley in the night of 15 June. The Indian Army has said that no soldier is missing in the Galvan Valley of Ladakh. On 17 June, in an NYT article titled “In China-India Clash, Two Nationalist Leaders with Little Room to Give”, there was a reference to the disappearance of Indian soldiers, which India has denied. “This is with reference to the article ‘In China-India Clash, Two Nationalist Leaders with Little Room to Give’ by The New York Times dated 17 June 2020. It is clarified that there are no Indian troops Missing In Action,” said the Indian Army to news agency ANI.

The NYT wrote in the article, “A number of Indian troops were captured, two Indian military officials said in interviews, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations. Their fate remains unclear, and presumably is the subject of intense maneuvering behind the scenes.”

The NYT quoted army veteran Ajai Shukla, known for floating conspiracy theories every now and then, to further its point. Seizing the opportunity, Shukla slammed another retired colonel who has turned a commentator arousing patriotic fervour on television.

Shukla was reduced to a butt of jokes after he had tweeted that Pakistan’s spy agency ISI had hatched the plot of Pulwama terror attack to see Prime Minister re-elected.

Social media platforms for the past few days have witnessed jibes galore thrown at Shukla. An example:

But perhaps the most telling disclaimer the NYT article — replete with opinions, it cannot be called a report — carried was the description of its authors and contributors. “Reporting and research were contributed by Claire Fu, Hari Kumar, Amber Wang and Sameer Yasir. Steven Lee Myers is the Beijing bureau chief for The New York Times,” the webpage reads at the bottom of the piece.

What becomes of a journalist when he or she refuses to toe the Chinese Communist Party line was evident when Beijing expelled American scribes at the height of the global coronavirus for questioning the data suppression by the regime.

In the night of 15 June, there was a violent clash between the armies of India and China in the Galvan Valley of Ladakh where 20 soldiers of India were killed while ANI reported 43 Chinese casualties without a break-up of deaths and injuries. China has conceded it has lost soldiers but not released exact data of its casualties.

Reportedly, while the troops of both the sides were returning from a meeting of their major generals, the Chinese soldiers — who had allegedly arrived at the venue of the meeting armed with rods and clubs against the military convention — launched an attack of the Indian counterparts at a narrow pass. If that is true, no casualty on one of the sides is improbable.

A major-general level talk was held between the two sides today as well.

Meanwhile, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi used a similar media report to get even with the government with a tweet.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar quoted Gandhi’s tweet to set the record straight. He tweeted, “All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving post. Those at Galwan on 15 June did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 & 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs.”

The foreign minister said Indian soldiers followed this agreement.

The Indian Army, Navy and IAF are commemorating Operation today, the day in 1999 when India had launched a crucial attack on Pakistani soldiers who had infiltrated into the heights of Kargil hills. India had won the Kargil against Pakistan decisively.

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