Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday wondered why China was heaping praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid simmering tensions between the two countries, after at least 20 Indian soldiers died in the worst border clash in over 40 years.
Gandhi cited a report by Chinese mouthpiece Global Times, in which Beijing welcomed Modi’s comments on the border, made at the all-party meeting on Saturday, saying they would pave way for de-escalation of military tensions between the countries. “China killed our soldiers,” Gandhi wrote. “China took our land. Then, why is China praising Mr Modi during this conflict?”
A controversy erupted last week after the prime minister said that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh nor had any border post of the Indian Army been captured during the clashes with Chinese troops. However, a clarification issued by Modi’s office claimed that attempts were being made to give a “mischievous interpretation” to his remarks and said his comments referred to the situation at the Line of Actual Control after Indian soldiers had foiled China’s intrusion.
On Sunday, Gandhi had accused Modi of surrendering to the neighbouring country. “Narendra Modi is actually Surrender Modi,” Gandhi posted on Twitter along with the link to a comment on India’s policy towards China. This was the second time in less than a week that he accused Modi of surrendering Indian territory to Beijing.
A few hours later, the Congress leader once again attacked the prime minister, alleging that satellite images have exposed his lies. “The prime minister said – neither has anyone entered the country nor has anyone captured our territory,” Gandhi had tweeted, along with a clip from Aaj Tak. “But satellite images clearly show that China has captured Indian territory near Pangong Lake.”
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed and 76 injured in a violent clash with Chinese forces in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15. China did not give an official count of casualties on its side but least 43 Chinese soldiers are believed to have been killed or injured in the clash. The face-off between the two neighbouring countries was the worst instance of violence on the border since 1975.
The incident marked a massive escalation of border tensions between the two nations, which have been rising through the last month. China has claimed the entire Galwan Valley, including areas currently on India’s side of the Line of Actual Control. India lashed out at China on Saturday, accusing it of trying to “advance exaggerated and untenable claims”.