Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Manik Sarkar claimed on Sunday that there was no allegation anywhere about China having occupied the territory of another country, Aaj Tak reported.

He made the remarks at a conference of the Tribal Youth Federation – an organisation affiliated to youth organisation Democratic Youth Federation of India – at Agartala.

“During the 60’s, when they [Chinese troops] came inside [our territory], we couldn’t stop them,” Sarkar said, referring to the 1962 India-China war. “But they left on their own leaving our land back.”

Sarkar, a former chief minister of Tripura, claimed that Chinese troops showed their strength, but “didn’t suffer from ego” and returned on their own, according to The Indian Express. “If you have heard the name of [freedom fighter and philosopher] Vinoba Bhave, he was not a Communist,” Sarkar said. “He said after 1960 that nobody could stop them [Chinese], that they came inside a lot to show their strength, but not to occupy.”

Sarkar’s comments run contrary to the stand taken by several other Opposition leaders, who have alleged that China has carried out incursions in Indian territory.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has frequently criticised the Union government, and has accused it of surrendering India’s land to China. On January 28, he had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi when India’s territory “occupied by China” will be returned.

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.

Since then, there have been several reports based on satellite image and claims made by locals about Chinese incursion and building of infrastructure in and around parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Ladakh and Uttarakhand.

Further, China controls the region of Aksai Chin, while India says that it is a part of its territory.