A day after the Centre announced that India and China had reached an agreement to disengage on the eastern Ladakh border, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of “cowardice” and “giving away Indian territory to China”.
On Thursday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Parliament that Indian and Chinese troops had agreed on disengagement on both sides of Pangong Tso in a “phased, coordinated and verified manner”.
Addressing a press conference at the Congress party headquarters on Friday, Mr. Gandhi told reporters that the Indian territory was up to Finger 4 in the Pangong area where Indian post used to located but, now, the government had moved back to Finger 3.
The Congress leader said it was China that can claim success, as Mr. Modi had “handed over a portion of Bharat Mata [Mother India] to them”.
“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,” Mr. Gandhi said, adding that the Prime Minister was “betraying the sacrifices of our Army”.
The Congress leader said that while India’s armed forces — the Army, the Air Force and the Navy — were ready to take on China, the Prime Minister was not.
He said the forces had “risked everything they had to capture” the Kailash ranges but the government had now asked them to move back without spelling out “for what”.
More importantly, he said, the Chinese were still in strategically important areas such as Depsang plains, Gogra, Hot Springs and questioned the Defence Minister for “not uttering a word about these areas”.
“It is about absolutely 100% cowardice to give our holy land. The Prime Minister is a coward who cannot stand up to the Chinese. That’s the fact, and he is spitting on the sacrifice of our Army,” asserted the animated Congress leader.
Accompanied by the party’s Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and general secretaries K.C. Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala, Mr. Gandhi lauded the efforts of the armed forces in protecting the borders and said “none in India” should be allowed to undermine them.
“I think the people should be enraged. I am surprised the press is behaving the way it is. You [the press] have a responsibility to raise these things,” he said.
Mr. Gandhi said he had full faith in the capability of the armed forces.
“It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister to protect the territory of this country. The Prime Minister has ceded Indian territory to the Chinese. It’s his responsibility to solve it. How he does it is his problem, not mine,” Mr. Gandhi added.