Even as the left’s closeness with the Chinese administration is being exposed — the Congress had signed a secret MoU with the Chinese Communist Party in 2008, and the Chinese government had repeatedly made donations to the Rajiv Gandhi foundation — they’re now resorting to increasingly desperate means to portray a closeness between China and the Modi government.
The Telegraph today published an article titled “China loan horse without a mouth,” in which it claimed that the Modi govt had formally confirmed that India took two loans totaling Rs 9,202 crore from a “Beijing-based multilateral development bank” in the thick of the border standoff. The article attempted to insinuate that in spite of its hard stand against China which involved banning its apps, the Indian government had taken a loan from China four days after the Galwan clash.
This looked bad on the face of it, but what the article was trying to hide was the fact that the bank that India had taken the loan from wasn’t a Chinese bank at all. The loan was taken from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is a bank with 102 countries, including India, as members. It is a bank similar to the World Bank or the IMF, and a loan from the bank cannot be thought to be a loan from China. Indeed, after China, India is the second largest shareholder of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
But this didn’t stop the BJP’s political opponents from deliberately twisting this news to imply that the Modi government had taken loans from China. “On 15th June, Chinese soldiers killed 20 of our soldiers. Their killings were unjustified & very brutal. Four days later on 19th June @PMOIndia gave China a “muh todd” jawab by borrowing Rs 5,521 crore from it What an insult to our martyrs’ sacrifices,” tweeted AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi while sharing the Telegraph article. Owaisi thinks himself to be a lawyer and an intellectual, but chose to conveniently omit the fact that the bank was not Chinese, but one that was jointly owned by 102 countries with India as the second largest shareholder.
The “news” was further propagated by Congress leaders — Srivatsa tweeted that “56-inch Modi surrendered, said no intrusion, banned apps & took loans from China!”
And it didn’t take long for the falsehood to be taken up by the lodestar of fake news, Rahul Gandhi, himself. Gandhi, who is currently not even in India, found the time to spread the canard to his 16 million followers on Twitter, again insinuating that the loan was from China, but cleverly covering his tracks by saying “China-based bank”.
The “news” will now likely be taken up by hundreds of leftist social media influencers and Facebook pages, made into memes, and acquire a life of its own. But its basis is a single misleading article from The Telegraph. The Telegraph article even itself noted that India was the second largest shareholder in the bank after China, but chose to word its headline and article in such a way as to leave the reader with the impression that India had taken a loan from China.
Politicians then share this article with the details of the structure of the bank left out, and thus spread the fake news amongst their millions of followers. This is the standard leftist playbook for spreading falsehoods — they had done the exact same thing when they’d spread the fake news about the Modi government having slashed the education budget by Rs. 3000 crore. And as this latest fake news about the loan from China shows, they clearly think their tactics are working, and are only doubling down with ever-greater impunity.