Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi after he accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of surrendering Indian territory to China in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Gandhi has repeatedly hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party for the June 15 clashes, which claimed the lives of at least 20 Indian personnel in the worst violence on the Indo-China border since 1975.
Shah shared a video by news agency ANI of the father of a soldier, who was injured in the violent face-off with Chinese troops, to criticise Gandhi. “Indian Army is a strong army,” an old man is heard saying. “It can defeat China and other nations. Rahul Gandhi, you should not indulge in politics. My son fought...he will fight again. I pray to god he recovers soon.”
The home minister said the father had a very clear message for the Congress MP. “At a time when the entire nation is united, Mr Rahul Gandhi should also rise above petty politics and stand in solidarity with national interest,” Shah tweeted.
Other Opposition leaders and India’s national security experts have also questioned Modi’s remarks that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh, nor had any border post of the Indian Army been captured by outside forces during the face-off with Chinese troops earlier this week. The prime minister made these comments at an all-party meeting called by him on Friday to discuss the situation.
“Neither anyone has intruded into our territory nor took over any post,” Modi had said. Quoting this, Gandhi tweeted on Saturday: “Prime minister has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: Why were our soldiers killed? Where were they killed?”
A day earlier, Gandhi claimed that the Centre was “fast asleep” during Ladakh face-off. Gandhi supported his claim by retweeting an ANI report that had quoted Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik saying that the killing of Indian soldiers was “pre-planned”. On Thursday, Gandhi had asked the government why Indian soldiers were unarmed at the time they were attacked by their Chinese counterparts. On Wednesday, Gandhi had questioned Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on why it took him two days to condole the deaths. “If it was so painful, why insult Indian Army by not naming China in your tweet,” he tweeted. “Why take two days to condole?
Congress President Sonia Gandhi had asked Modi if the border violence was the result of an intelligence failure, adding that the Indian government must assure people that the status quo ante is restored in the region.
The clashes came during a “de-escalation” process in the Galwan area that was started last week, after a month-long standoff between troops at several points along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and Sikkim. Though some reports have said that around 40 Chinese soldiers died during these clashes, China has not responded to this.