A bridge too far

By Hari Chathrattil   August 23, 2017 | 11:12 am GMT+7

Indian politics has never lacked tamasha (entertainment), but the digital savvy of politicians has taken it to new shores, this time, to Vietnam.

A minister in the Indian state of Chattisgarh is seeking to advance bilateral relations with Vietnam by bridging the localities of Raigarh, a district in India’s center-east state and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Province of Ben Tre.

There is a small hitch, though. Neither the honorable minister nor his fan following are aware of the foreign relations implications of his Facebook post.

According to the Alt News website, Rajesh Munat, Chhattisgarh’s Minister of State for Public Works Department, Housing, Environment and Transport posted the picture of an impressive bridge across the Kelo River that he said has been inaugurated in Raigarh District. The photograph also carried this impressive message in Hindi: “New Bridge, Easy Access to Village after Village.”

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A screenshot by Alt News shows the minister posting the picture of an impressive bridge across the Kelo River that he said has been inaugurated in Raigarh District.

One of the people commenting on the Minister’s post commended him for posting a genuine photograph, saying “At least you are posting a real pic, some people are posting pictures of foreign roads.” The Minister responded, “Thanks, friend.”

The bridge is real, as is the picture.

But the news and captions are as fake as they come.

The Co Chien Bridge stands in Vietnam’s Ben Tre Province, as ascertained by a reverse Google search by an alert reader and re-checked by the website. It was inaugurated two years ago by the then Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

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We can hope that the bridge comes in handy as the minister swims in troubled waters.

* The writer, a long-time resident of Vietnam, lives and works in Hanoi. The opinions expressed are his own.

 
 
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