Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that the Narendra Modi government had “massively jeopardised” India’s national security by indulging in “wasteful talks” with China.
Gandhi’s criticism of the Centre’s handling of border tensions with Beijing came amid reports that China has refused to withdraw its troops from Hot Springs and Gogra Post, the remaining two of the four original friction points between New Delhi and Beijing in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control.
“Chinese occupation of Gogra-Hot Springs and Depsang plains is a direct threat to India’s strategic interests including the DBO [Daulat Beg Oldi] airstrip,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our nation deserves better.”
While thousands of Indian and Chinese frontline troops disengaged in February from the southern and northern banks of Pangong Lake in the Ladakh region following a series of talks between the two countries, they remain in a standoff in Gogra and Hot Springs, and one other place, Depsang.
Officials told The Indian Express that China first agreed to pull its troops back from Hot Springs and Gogra Post, but later refused to do so. China reportedly told India that it should be happy with “what has been achieved” so far regarding the disengagement in the Pangong Tso area.
What is Gogra and Hot springs?
Border tensions between the two countries flared up in June last year after clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clashes. China identified the casualties on its side only in February this year, saying that four soldiers died.
Patrolling Point 15 (PP15) in Hot Springs, and PP17A near Gogra Post were two of the four points along the Line of Actual Control where India and China were in a tense standoff last year, sparked by the clashes in Galwan Valley.
Patrolling points, or PPs, are certain locations along the LAC given to the Indian Army, where its troop can patrol to assert its control over the territory, according to The Indian Express. This is an important exercise since the boundary between India and China is de facto.
Both PP15 and PP17A are in an area where India and China largely agree on the alignment of the LAC. However, according to the official history of the 1962 war between India and China, the region is not identified as a major “launchpad” from where an offensive can be launched by either side, according to The Indian Express. Hot Springs and Gogra Post are also close to the boundary between two of the most historically disturbed provinces of China.