Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been consistently criticising the Centre over its approach to the border tensions with China, on Tuesday asked why the Ministry of External Affairs made no mention of Galwan Valley in its statement on disengagement in the region the previous day.
“National interest is paramount,” Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter. “GOI’s [Government of India’s] duty is to protect it.”
Gandhi contrasted India’s statement on deescalation of border tensions with that of China’s and asked the government three questions. “Why has Status Quo Ante not been insisted on?” he asked. “Why is China allowed to justify the murder of 20 unarmed jawans in our territory? Why is there no mention of the territorial sovereignty of Galwan valley?”
The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said that India and China had agreed to withdraw their troops from the site of the violent clash between the armies of the two countries last month and deescalate tensions along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. The Indian foreign ministry’s response came a day after a telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
In his tweet, Gandhi highlighted a portion of the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement that made a mention of Galwan Valley. “The right and wrong of what recently happened at the Galwan Valley in the western sector of the China-India boundary is very clear,” China had said. “China will continue firmly safeguarding our territorial integrity as well as peace and tranquility in the border areas.”
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Chinese pullback vindicated the argument that intrusions took place on the Indian side of the LAC. “Unlike Indian army, Chinese forces are not accustomed to withstand harsh and inhospitable glacial weather of Himalayan mountain which may trigger to an extent of retreat of Chinese army, that too again vindicates our arguments that huge intrusions occurred into our territory,” he tweeted.
He added that “we will not budge an inch” before status quo ante is restored at the border.
Gandhi has repeatedly accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lying about China’s incursion into Indian territory. Last month, Gandhi had accused Modi of “surrendering” to China, after the prime minister claimed that no Chinese troops had intruded into the Indian side.
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed and 76 injured in the violent face-off with Chinese troops in Ladakh last month. The confrontation between the two neighbouring countries was the worst instance violence along the border since 1975. China did not give an official count of casualties on its side.