Don’t be docile on China: Rahul Gandhi’s advice to PM Modi
Rahul Gandhi on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defend the country against Chinese aggression, arguing that “a timid and docile response won’t do”.
The Congress castigated the foreign ministry for merely saying, in connection with reports of China building a second bridge on Indian territory, that “it is felt China has occupied that part”.
Party spokesperson Pawan Khera said the government’s wishy-washy stance was worrying, and urged Modi and his foreign ministry to forget about protecting the Prime Minister’s “fake” image and “state clearly that the Chinese army is in illicit occupation”.
Rahul too referred to the reports about China building a second bridge on occupied parts of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.
“China builds first bridge on Pangong. GOI (Government of India): We are monitoring the situation. China builds second bridge on Pangong. GOI: We are monitoring the situation,” Rahul tweeted.
“India’s national security & territorial integrity is non-negotiable. A timid and docile response won’t do. The Prime Minister must defend the nation.”
Khera showed a video clip of the foreign ministry’s response, aired on Thursday and described afterwards by Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala as “meek and cowering” and “a blatant compromise with our national security”.
Khera suggested that Modi was under pressure over China and that his ministries were engaged in protecting his “fake image” — even at the risk of demoralising the armed forces — instead of acknowledging the crisis and valiantly protecting the borders.
“Every Indian will be pained by the words used by the (foreign ministry) spokesperson. Language is critical in diplomacy. Our spokesperson says ‘it is felt China has occupied that part’. They won’t even say that China has occupied the land,” Khera said.
“We are deeply worried about it. The Prime Minister seems to be under some pressure. We all have heard what he had to say two years ago — that nobody has intruded. That was like a clean chit.”
On June 19, 2020, four days after 20 Indian soldiers and purportedly four Chinese troops had died in a clash in the Galwan Valley, Modi had said that nobody had entered Indian territory, allowing China to claim ownership of all the land it was occupying.
“China has established and is in the process of establishing infrastructure support for the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) to enable the PLA to bring artillery support through these bridges. This particular bridge that is under construction is a broader bridge compared to the first bridge,” Khera said.
He said: “The ministry of external affairs should first discuss these issues with the defence ministry before talking. We are demoralising our own armed forces. It is shocking to see that the ministry of external affairs is undermining the defence ministry.
“We are observing the ceasefire agreements but China is violating them. And the ministry of external affairs gives a clean chit to China. China is trespassing. As we speak, China is violating… the same ceasefire agreement under which India gave up the vantage points that we had under our position thanks to our brave army.
“So, whenever the ministry of external affairs speaks — I don’t know what is their compulsion — it appears, though, that every single ministry of this government has a one-point agenda: to protect and promote, howsoever fake it is, the image of the Prime Minister.”
The Congress spokesperson added: “We want an immediate clarification from the government of India on the words used by the ministry of external affairs yesterday that it is ‘felt’ that the area is under Chinese occupation. It is a very, very serious point of concern.
“We call upon the Prime Minister — for a moment, forget about your own image, think about the country, think about the brave army. State clearly that the Chinese army is in illicit occupation.”