The Congress on Tuesday blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally for China’s continuing border misadventures, saying he had emboldened the neighbour by claiming that no one was occupying Indian territory and by banning Chinese apps rather than taking substantial action against Beijing.
The Congress’s criticism came in the context of Chinese troops’ attempted transgression and clash with Indian soldiers in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on Friday, as confirmed by defence minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament on Tuesday.
Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi stressed that the Arunachal transgression bid “happened on December 9 but the government informed Parliament today, only after the media reported the clash”.
“We wanted to ask questions to ensure the facts are placed before the country. But the defence minister must have been under instructions from the Prime Minister to avoid answering questions,” he said.
The presiding officer in the Rajya Sabha had refused to allow questions to Rajnath.
Gogoi and fellow spokesperson Pawan Khera argued that a firm handling of the May 2020 Chinese intrusions in Ladakh would have deterred Beijing from launching a similar operation in Arunachal.
Khera referred to how Modi had on June 19, 2020 — four days after a clash in the Galwan Valley killed 20 Indian and at least 4 Chinese soldiers — told Parliament: “Neither has anyone intruded into our frontier there, nor is any intruder there, nor is any of our posts occupied by someone else.”
Khera said this statement amounted to a clean chit for China, encouraging it to continue with its transgressions.
“The Prime Minister showcased his weakness by giving a clean chit to China. Why is Modi so scared of China? What is his compulsion? Why is he ready to make compromises on India’s territorial integrity? What’s the secret?” he said.
Gogoi said: “Home minister (Amit Shah) said not an inch of India’s territory has been taken away while the government has submitted in Parliament how China encroached upon our land. Why is the government obfuscating the truth? Modi is the only head of (government) who hides behind his ministers on matters relating to territorial integrity.”
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge reiterated the party’s demand for a thorough discussion in Parliament, saying the country should be told the truth about the Chinese hostilities.
Party communications chief Jairam Ramesh said: “Nothing is bigger than the country. But Modi puts the country in peril to protect his image. China has constructed permanent shelters inside our territory in the Galwan Valley. Now comes this new attempt in Arunachal. China is getting emboldened.”
Gogoi condemned the BJP’s tendency of wasting time fighting the Opposition instead of confronting China.