Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday launched another attack on the Centre over its approach to the border tensions with China, and asked what exactly transpired that Beijing “took away” India’s land when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at the helm of affairs.

Gandhi cited a report by The Wire, which quoted defence expert Ajai Shukla as saying that the government is misleading the media on the Chinese disengagement along the Line of Actual Control, and that the de-escalation process at Galwan Valley is disadvantageous to India. “What has happened that under Modi ji’s rule, China took away Mother India’s sacred land?” Gandhi asked in a tweet.

In an interview to The Wire on Saturday , Shukla, who is the strategic affairs editor at Business Standard, said he was “very confident” of his claim that there has been no disengagement at Hot Springs and Gogra Heights area along the LAC. “Because the Chinese have already intruded two to four kms into Indian-claimed territory…the entire buffer zone will be set up in Indian territory,” he said. “Yet the Chinese are refusing to concede even this”.

This means that at Hot Springs and Gogra, not only is there no disengagement but, additionally, the Chinese are also refusing to vacate Indian territory, Shukla had explained.

Gandhi has been repeatedly been accusing Modi of lying about China’s incursion into Indian territory. At least 20 Indian soldiers had lost their lives in the worst border clash with China in over 40 years at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh 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.

On Saturday, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar had said the disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops along the disputed Line of Actual Control has just started and it is “very much a work in progress”. Jaishankar, a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security, is the first to comment about the de-escalation process that began earlier this week.

The disengagement between both India and China began after a telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 5 that lasted nearly two hours. On Monday, both the countries had pulled back troops from the site of June 15 clashes at Galwan Valley in Ladakh.

Reports said that Chinese frontline troops have fully moved out of the Patrolling Point 15 of the Hot Springs area in eastern Ladakh as part of the disengagement process to reduce tensions. The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in a standoff in multiple locations along the LAC for the last eight weeks.

Also read:

  1. Ladakh clashes: De-escalation with China is a ‘work in progress’, says external affairs minister
  2. ‘Even with slower growth, India brings a lot to the table’: Tanvi Madan on Indo-US ties post-Galwan
  3. ‘Chinese are simply talking to keep India distracted’: Jabin Jacob on New Delhi’s Beijing challenge