The recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament was disastrous for the Narendra Modi government in terms of its ability to bring the opposition on board on crucial issues and the optics of building consensus.
The only exception, however, was the discussion around the tricky issue of India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh. And the credit for that goes to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who ensured that the government was not cornered by the opposition.
Through his handling of the China issue, Rajnath Singh has shown why the Modi-Amit Shah duo needs him. No other person, including Home Minister Amit Shah, would have been able to help the government tread over egg shells on such a delicate issue.
The multiple transgressions and incursions by China and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) blocking access to areas Indian Army used to traditionally patrol are things that deeply embarrass Prime Minister Modi himself. This is because Modi has always projected himself as a sharp, strong Prime Minister with a teflon coating.
He has always portrayed his closeness to Chinese President Xi Jinping – having met him 18 times since first coming to power in 2014.