New Delhi: The Congress party appears to be upping the ante against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government’s handling of the dispute with China over Galwan Valley and deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. Both former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ex party president Rahul Gandhi made statements highlighting how they thought the Narendra Modi government is not being transparent on the matter and is letting China have the upper hand.
‘A historic betrayal’
In his first remarks on the Ladakh face-off, Singh on Monday said Modi must be mindful of the implications of his words and cannot allow China to use them as a vindication of its position.
Noting that disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership, Singh called upon the prime minister to ensure justice for soldiers who died defending India’s territorial integrity. “To do any less would be a historic betrayal of people’s faith,” he said in a statement.
The country is standing at a historic cross-roads, he said, and the government’s decisions and actions will have serious bearings on how the future generations perceive us. “Those who lead us bear the weight of a solemn duty,” he said.
“And in our democracy that responsibility rests with the office of the prime minister. The prime minister must always be mindful of the implications of his words and declarations on our nation’s security as also strategic and territorial interests,” he said in a statement.
A day after accusing the prime minister of having “surrendered” Indian territory to Chinese aggression, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at him on Sunday, saying “Narendra Modi is actually Surender Modi”.
Gandhi took the dig at the prime minister in a tweet, wherein he tagged an article in the Japan Times with the headline, “India’s appeasement policy toward China unravels”.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 21, 2020
In another tweet, the Congress leader said even though the prime minister says no one has taken over Indian territory, satellite images show that the Chinese have “captured” Indian territory near Pangong Tso in Ladakh.
“The prime minister said – no one entered the country, nor did anyone take over our land. But satellite images clearly show that China has captured Mother India’s sacred land near Pangong Lake,” he said in the tweet in Hindi.
Gandhi also posted a television news clip with his tweet, showing Indian territories under Chinese occupation with the help of satellite imagery.
The Congress leader had accused Modi on Saturday of having “surrendered” Indian territory to Chinese aggression, after the latter’s remarks made at an all-party meeting that neither is anyone inside India’s territory nor has anyone captured its posts.
“The PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: Why were our soldiers killed? Where were they killed,” he had asked on Twitter, highlighting the prime minister’s comments.
What Modi said
Modi’s statements at the end of Friday’s all-party meeting to discuss the situation at the Sino-India border in Ladakh have created confusion and raised multiple questions. “Na koi wahan hamari seema mein ghus aaya hai aur nahi koi ghusa hua hai, na hi hamari koi post kisi dusre ke kabze mein hain (No one has intruded and nor is anyone intruding, nor has any post been captured by someone),” he said in closing remarks that were carried on television.
A day after Modi said “no one has intruded into our territory” – an assertion which contradicted government statements about the circumstances in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed in combat with the Chinese army last week – the PMO sought to clarify that the reason he said there was “no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC” is because Indian soldiers had foiled an “attempted transgression” at Galwan.
(With agency inputs)