In a strong accusation over Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s announcement on the Ladakh crisis on Thursday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “coward” and alleged that he has “ceded” Indian territory to the Chinese.
The BJP, however, turned this down as “baseless allegation”.
Gandhi told a press conference on Friday morning that Rajnath Singh “sheepishly” made a statement on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) situation in both Houses of Parliament and it emerged that Indian troops are now going to be stationed at Finger 3.
“The prime minister is a coward who cannot stand up to the Chinese. He’s spitting on the sacrifice of our Army, he’s betraying the sacrifice of our Army and nobody in India or rest of the world should be allowed to do that,” he said, pointing out that the Indian troops were moving back to Finger 3 from Finger 4, also an Indian territory.
— Congress (@INCIndia) February 12, 2021
“Finger 4 is our territory, that’s where our post used to be. Now we’ve moved from Finger 4 to Finger 3. Why has Prime Minister Modi given up Indian territory to the Chinese. This is the question that needs to be answered by him and the Defence minister,” Gandhi said.
Why have the Indian troops, after the hard work that they had done in capturing Kailash ranges, been asked to move back, the former Congress chief asked.
His attack on the government came a day after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh assured the Parliament that India has not conceded anything in the sustained talks with China and that it will not allow even an inch of its territory to be taken away by anyone.
“What has India got in return for this? Most importantly, the more important strategic area, Depsang plains, why have the Chinese not moved back? These are the real questions. Why have they not moved from Gogra-Hot Springs,” the Congress leader asked.
“It is the responsibility of the prime minister to protect the territory of the country. The prime minister has ceded Indian territory to the Chinese,” he alleged and said, “The Indian government’s position at the beginning of this was status quo ante as in April 2020 that is what they were negotiating for.”
In a breakthrough after a nine-month border standoff, Defence Minister Singh announced in Parliament on Thursday that India and China have reached a consensus on disengagement in the North and South banks of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh that mandates both sides to “cease” forward deployment of troops in a “phased, coordinated and verifiable” manner.
Singh shared the details of the pact to defuse the tense military face-off in eastern Ladakh that severely strained ties between the two Asian giants. In an identical statement later in the Lok Sabha, he had said the disengagement process was “going on well”, and that the implementation of the pact will “substantially restore” the situation to the one which existed prior to the standoff that erupted on May 5 last.
BJP hits back
Hitting back at Gandhi, BJP general secretary CT Ravi said that his allegation was rather an acknowledgement of the realisation in the Congress that Jawaharlal Nehru had made a “Himalayan blunder” by “gifting” over 38,000 sqkm of land to the neighbouring country.
I am glad that @INCIndia has finally realised that PM Nehru created a "Himalayan Blunder" by gifting 38,000 sq km land to China.
— C T Ravi 🇮🇳 ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) February 12, 2021
“I am glad that the Congress has finally realised that PM Nehru created a ‘Himalayan Blunder’ by gifting 38,000 sq km land to China. Will it also question its co-owner, the coward Rahul Gandhi for making baseless allegations against PM Modi?” he tweeted.