Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the country’s national security is “unpardonably compromised” as the government does not have a strategy on China. He cited a news report where the External Affairs Ministry and the Chief of Defence Staff had a different take on the China border issue.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat on Thursday said the controversy about the Chinese coming into the Indian territory and building a new village is “not true”, and that the villages were well within the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). He also asserted that China has not transgressed the Indian “perception” of the LAC.
In its recent report, the US Department of Defence said China built a large village inside disputed territory between its Tibet Autonomous Region and India’s Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector of the LAC. Earlier in an official reaction to the US report, the External Affairs Ministry said India has neither accepted China’s “illegal occupation of its territory nor any unjustified Chinese claims”.
While taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “56-inch chest” remarks, Gandhi said on Twitter, “Our national security is unpardonably compromised because GOI has no strategy and Mr 56 is scared”. “My thoughts are with the soldiers risking their lives to guard our borders while GOI churns out lies,” he further alleged. In the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi had said it takes a 56-inch chest to convert Uttar Pradesh into Gujarat in terms of development. Attacking the government over the issue, Congress leader P Chidambaram said it is time Defence Minister Rajnath Singh drew a line in his ministry and asked the CDS to remain “well within his side of the LAC”.
“MEA said that China is in ‘illegal occupation’ of Indian territory and India will not accept ‘unjustified Chinese claims’. “Within hours, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) said that the Chinese ‘have not transgressed anywhere on our perception of the LAC’ and they are ‘well within their side of the LAC’,” Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.
The former Union finance minister also said the Chinese are laughing all the way from the Plenum to the 20th Congress of the Communist party. “It is time for the Defence Minister to draw a LAC in the Defence Ministry and ask the CDS to remain well within his side of the LAC,” the Congress leader said.
Last month, India and China failed to make any headway in resolving the 18-month standoff in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh during the 13th round of military talks between the two countries. Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector of eastern Ladakh.