Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday reiterated his question to the Centre about the alleged Chinese occupation of Indian territory. “We are standing united against Chinese aggression,” Gandhi tweeted. “Has China occupied Indian territory?”
The remarks came amid increased tensions between India and China since the troops of the two nations came to blows during a confrontation along the Line of Actual Control last week. A controversy had erupted after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday 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.
Gandhi on Monday wondered why China was heaping praises on 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.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party President Jagat Prakash Nadda hit out at Gandhi, and accused him of attempting to “divide the nation” and demoralise the armed forces. “First, Congress signs MoU [memorandum of understanding] with the Chinese Communist Party,” he tweeted. “Then, Congress surrenders land to China. During Doklam issue, Rahul Gandhi secretly goes to the Chinese embassy. During crucial situations, Rahul Gandhi tries to divide the nation and demoralise armed forces. Effects of MoU?”
In 2008, the two parties from the two countries had signed an MoU to facilitate top-level dialogue and initiate consultation over regional and international matters. Gandhi, who was the Congress’ general secretary back then, had signed the memorandum with Xi Jinping, who was then a senior leader of his party and is now the Chinese president.
Nadda had on Monday criticised former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comments on the India-China tensions, and asked him to stop repeatedly insulting the Indian forces and questioning their valour. The BJP chief also accused Singh of “abjectly surrendering” significant portions of Indian land to China, and claimed that the former prime minister had presided over 600 Chinese incursions between 2010 and 2013.
Congress’ senior leader and a former Union minister P Chidambaram hit out at Nadda for criticising Singh and tweeted: “Yes, there were incursions but no Indian territory was occupied by China and no lives of Indian soldiers were lost in violent clashes [under Singh’s term]. Will JP Nadda please ask the present PM [Modi] to explain the 2,264 Chinese incursions since 2015? I bet he will not dare to ask that question.”