Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Friday picked upon the government’s disengagement plan along the Line of Actual Control in Pangong lake in Ladakh and accused it of conceding Indian territory to China.
“The truth is that the Prime Minister has given away the Indian territory to China,” Gandhi said during a press conference on Friday morning. “He must answer to the country.”
The Congress leader pointed out a part of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s reply in the Parliament on Thursday where he had said that China will keep its troop presence in the North Bank area to east of Finger 8 along the Pangong lake, while Indian troops will be based at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3.
“Yesterday defence minister made a statement on the situation in eastern Ladakh,” Gandhi said. “Now we find our troops are going to be stationed at Finger 3...Finger 4 is our territory. Now, we have moved from Finger 4 to Finger 3. Why has Mr [Narendra] Modi given up our territory to the Chinese?”
He further said that Singh did not say anything on the Depsang Plains area from where, Gandhi claimed, the Chinese troops had transgressed into Indian territory, ANI reported.
In a sharp attack on the the prime minister, Gandhi termed him as a “coward” and said that he was “betraying the sacrifice” of the Army, according to ANI.
“It is the responsibility of the prime minister to protect the territory of this country,” the Congress MP said. “How he does it is his problem, not mine.”
Earlier on Thursday, Gandhi had tweeted saying that peace and tranquility along the border was not possible in the absence of “status quo ante” (previously existing state of affairs).
His comment came after Singh, in the Rajya Sabha, said that India and China will remove deployments along the Pangong lake in Ladakh in a phased and coordinated manner. The defence minister said that senior commanders from both the sides will hold their next meeting within 48 hours after complete disengagement in the area, in order to address the remaining concerns.
Tensions between the two countries flared up in June after deadly clashes between soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed. China is believed to also have suffered casualties as well, but has not given any details.
The standoff has persisted with both sides bolstering forces along the border. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time there in 45 years.
Several rounds of diplomatic and military level of talks have been held over the past few months to disengage troops. The ninth round of Corps Commander-level talks took place on January 24.