On Wednesday, Business Standard had published a report claiming that there were fresh clashes between Indian and Chinese forces in Easter Ladakh, which was rubbished by the Indian Army. The army had said that the article written by Ajai Shukla was riddled with inaccuracies and misinformation, and the intention of the author was malafide.
However, even after a strong rebuttal issued by the Indian Army, Ajai Shukla had chosen to stand his ground. In a tweet, he had claimed that his article was not rebutted through any official channel, and that it was an unofficial rebuttal sent to a group of defence journalists on WhatsApp. He claimed that the journalists treated the same as an official rebuttal.
But just like his report on an imaginary fresh clash between India and China in Ladakh, his claims on the rebuttal by the Indian Army was also false and baseless. Because the Public Relations Office of the Indian Army had indeed issued an official response to Business Standard, rebutting all the charges made by Ajai Shukla.Contrary to the claim by Shukla, the rebuttal was an official statement issued by the Indian Army, which was signed by Col Sudhir Chamoli. The official statement is given below:
After the official statement of the Indian Army was pointed to Ajai Shukla, he quickly deleted his tweet claiming that there was no official rebuttal to his baseless article. It is interesting that while the official rebuttal was issued by the Indian Army on 14 July itself, Ajai Shukla claimed on 15th July that it was only an unofficial message on WhatsApp.
The Indian Army had said in the statement that the article is riddled with inaccuracies and misinformation. “It is reiterated that the news report mentioning that agreements with China have collapsed, is false and baseless. Ever since the disengagement agreement in February this year, there has been no attempt by either side to occupy the areas from where the dis-engagement had been undertaken. There have been no clashes in Galwan or any other area, as reported in the article. The intention of the reporter is malafide and not based on any truth”, the statement said.
It further added that both sides have continued with negotiations to resolve balance issues, and regular patrolling in respective areas continues. It said, “The situation on ground continues to be as hithertofore. PLA activities, including turnover of troops continue to be monitored by Indian Army. The news article has been published with uncorroborated facts and is strongly rebutted.” The PRO of Indian had also asked Business Standard to carry the rebuttal prominently on both the newspaper and its online platform. They had further advised the publication to exercise editorial oversight when reporting matters of national security.