Military standoff at Doklam with China has been on since 16th June, ever since China accused India of trespassing and preventing its soldiers from building a road in a territory that China says is its own, but which actually belongs to Bhutan. Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, too has spoken on the issue in Parliament where she said that war was not the solution.
Amidst all this, yesterday The Indian Express published an article, which said that an “official” has claimed that Bhutan acknowledges Doklam as Chinese territory:
Bhutan acknowledges that Doklam is a Chinese area: Officialhttps://t.co/w8bZOXE2h0
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) August 8, 2017
So did Bhutan give up claim on its own territory? Does it leave India appear as an aggressor to the rest of the world? Wasn’t it a major and massive development?
Except that there were numerous problems. First, the report itself said that it was ‘stunning but unsubstantiated’ claim:
Entire China belongs to me.
Will this “stunning yet unsubstantiated” claim get published as news in a national daily? pic.twitter.com/pvgh7WAEjj
— Gappistan Radio (@GappistanRadio) August 8, 2017
The article opens with “In a stunning -but unsubstantiated-claim, a senior Chinese official said today that Bhutan has acknowledged that the Doklam area where the Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a standoff does not belong to it.”
Nothing like an atrocious ‘stunning but unsubstantiated’ claim published in a national daily to ensure peace at the border. (PS: my stunning -but unsubstantiated- claim for today is that I glow in the dark)
Pretty soon, Pakistanis on Twitter picked it up and were quick to gloat:
This is big, may create alot of trouble for India if true. https://t.co/mMqW949ELE
— Kashif Qaimi (@kashif_Qaimi) August 9, 2017
Not only that, national Spokesperson for Congress, Sanjay Jha also “liked” this tweet:
— Siddharth (@skb_thoughts) August 8, 2017
This raises eyebrows as recently, after a series of denial, Congress VP Rahul Gandhi had accepted he had met Chinese delegates in secrecy and was even slammed by Sushma Swaraj for the same.
The other problem, apart from it being ‘stunning but unsubstantiated’ claim, was that Indian Express headline made it sound as if some “official” from Bhutan had said it, for it said “Bhutan acknowledges…”.
But the truth was that it was claimed so by a Chinese official, which most probably was a part of their propaganda based on lies or half-truths.
This too was spotted by alert Twitter users, who slammed Indian Express for their headline:
@smritiirani misleading headline for the article. Deliberate omission of ‘Chinese’ official.
— TheCoolGhai (@TheCoolghai) August 8, 2017
My God, u r giving Chinese version to criticise ur own govt policy. Shame
— pomila garga (@pompg) August 9, 2017
Chinese official told an Indian media delegation based on info gleaned from ‘blogs’ in Bhutan. 😀 Clickbait
— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) August 8, 2017
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsFollowing all the outrage and slamming, The Indian Express has finally added the word “Chinese” before official in the article, though it still remains a mystery why they needed to give space to a ‘stunning but unsubstantiated’ claim that furthered a Chinese propaganda.