Government can’t shy away from securing borders: Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File

Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

‘How will Modi regime take back our land in Ladakh?’

The Centre cannot shy away from its responsibility of securing India’s borders at a time of hostility with China and Prime Minister Narendra Modi must tell the nation how it will reclaim the land taken away by the Chinese in Ladakh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Friday.

As part of the Congress’s campaign, Shaheed Samman Divas, to honour the soldiers who died in clashes with the Chinese in the Galwan Valley, former party president Rahul Gandhi said China stood to benefit from Mr. Modi’s statement that no Indian territory had been occupied by China when satellite images showed otherwise.

Government can’t shy away from securing borders: Sonia Gandhi

At an official briefing, the party said the situation was explosive along the border as the Chinese were barely 30km from the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip, which was within the Chinese “artillery range”. The party asked the government to clarify whether Mr. Modi was “lying” or the incursions were the result of an intelligence and diplomatic failure.

As PMO clarifies on PM remarks, Congress urges government to explain Galwan

In a video message posted on Twitter, part of the SpeakUpForOurJawans campaign, Ms. Gandhi asked why the 20 soldiers were martyred when China had not captured any Indian territory, as claimed by the Prime Minister. “Today when there is a crisis-like situation on the India-China border, the Central government cannot shirk its responsibility [of securing it]... The country wants to know if China has not captured our land in Ladakh, as claimed by the Prime Minister, why our 20 soldiers were martyred,” she said.

“When and how will the Modi government take back from China our land in Ladakh? Is our territorial integrity being violated by China in Ladakh? Will the Prime Minister take the nation into confidence on the situation at the border?” she said.

Also read | There has been no firing on the border since 1975

Mr. Gandhi said the entire country was with the armed forces and the government, but the Prime Minister must first speak up about the incursions. “If you [the Prime Minister] say Indian land has not been taken by China and it has actually been taken, then China will stand to benefit. We have to together fight China and throw them out,” he said, adding that satellite images showed Chinese intrusions at three points while Mr. Modi claimed “not an inch of our territory has gone”.

Pointing to Mr. Modi’s informal summits with President Xi Jinping, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “What happened during those discussions that Mr. Modi had held with the Chinese that they were so emboldened to take over our territories”. “We will not allow the sacrifices of our soldiers to go in vain... It will be a crime to disrespect their sacrifice. We will not allow this to happen,” she said.

Also read: What explains the India-China border flare-up?

At a press conference, former Ministers of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju and Bhanwar Jitendra Singh and Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said China had occupied Indian territory up to 18 km inside the Line of Actual Control in the Depsang plains, posing an alarming threat to India’s national security and territorial integrity.

Mr. Raju said observations by retired defence experts with the help of satellite imagery suggested that the Chinese forces were now 7 km away from the Ladakh town of Burtse, on the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi Road, and had come as close as 25 km from the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip.

Tell the truth on whether China has occupied any Indian territory: Congress to government

“Is the Prime Minister lying to the nation,” Mr. Raju asked, asserting that there had been a diplomatic and intelligence failure.

“The Modi government is a weak government as it unfortunately refuses to even acknowledge any incursion, thereby weakening the morale of our soldiers,” Mr. Singh said.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 10:31:36 AM |

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