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Home / India News / Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi surrendered Galwan Valley, Shah hits back

Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi surrendered Galwan Valley, Shah hits back

Gandhi’s remarks came a day after the Prime Minister stated that no intruder remained in India’s territory nor had any of its posts been captured.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2020 02:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the PM for the death of soldiers at the Galwan Valley face-off.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the PM for the death of soldiers at the Galwan Valley face-off. (ANI)

The war of words between the opposition and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the border standoff with China in the Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh escalated on Saturday with former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah soon hit back at Gandhi, advising him to rise above “petty politics” and stand in solidarity with national interest at a time when the whole nation is united.

Gandhi’s remarks came a day after the Prime Minister stated that no intruder remained in India’s territory nor had any of its posts been captured.

“PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: 1.Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?” he tweeted.

Gandhi also tagged the Prime Minister’s remarks, made at Friday’s all-party meeting called to discuss the situation at the India-China border following violent clashes between troops of the two countries on June 15 in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

It was the first time since 1975 that India suffered combat fatalities in a skirmish with Chinese troops. Ten Indian soldiers detained by the Chinese side during the violent brawl of June 15 were later released after intense negotiations through diplomatic and military channels. China has so far not acknowledged any casualties among its troops.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday hit back at former Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his statement on face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley in Ladakh and advised him to rise above “petty politics”.

Putting a video of the father of an injured army man on his Twitter account, Shah said, Gandhi should stand in solidarity with national interest by shunning his politics over the issue at a time when the whole nation is united.

“A brave armyman’s father speaks and he has a very clear message for Mr Gandhi. At a time when the entire nation is united, Mr Rahul Gandhi should also rise above petty politics and stand in solidarity with national interest,” Shah tweeted.

Later in the day, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram asked the government to clarify its position on China’s claim on the entire Galwan Valley in Ladakh.

“The Prime Minister’s remark that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh had practically left everyone baffled and bewildered,” he said.

Addressing a virtual news conference, Chidambaram said the Prime Minister’s remarks contradicted the earlier statements of army chief General MM Naravane, defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar.

He said even after the Prime Minister’s statement on Friday, China had blamed India for the June 15 clashes and had re-asserted its claim to the entire Galwan Valley.

“What is the government’s answer to this claim? Now that China is claiming the entire Galwan Valley, will the government of India reject this claim? If it does not reject the Chinese claim today, it can have terrible consequences,” the Congress leader said.

“Let the government of India answer China’s claim today and not wait till tomorrow,” he added.

A day after India rejected the Chinese army’s claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley and asked Beijing to confine its activities to its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), China’s foreign ministry on Friday claimed that the Galwan Valley was on the Chinese side of the LAC.

Asked whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government was drawing a parallel between India’s China policy in 1962, the year the neighbours fought a war over the border dispute, and now, Chidambaram said, “We must focus on the present and not talk about the past.”

Chidambaram also reiterated Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s statement at the all-party meeting, insisting that the party stood by India’s defence forces and was prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure they are battle-ready.

He said if the Prime Minister’s statement reflects the correct position, the Congress would like to ask the government a few questions.

“If no Chinese troops had crossed the LAC and are in Indian territory, what was the face-off on May 5-6, 2020? Between May 5 and June 6, what was the issue on which local Indian commanders were talking to their Chinese counterparts {about} ? What was the subject matter of the negotiations between the Corps Commanders of the two countries on June 6?” asked Chidambaram.

“We would also like to ask, if no Chinese troops were inside Indian territory, where did the clashes take place on June 15-16? Where were 20 Indian soldiers killed and 85 injured?” he further asked.

Chidambaram also said, “If no Chinese troops are in Indian territory, why did the foreign minister’s statement and other statements of MEA demand the restoration of status quo ante? What was the meaning of status quo ante? What was the meaning of the disengagement that the government said was underway?”

If no Chinese forces were inside Indian territory in Ladakh, why did 20 soldiers have to sacrifice their lives, he asked.

“When the Prime Minister said a few days ago that the sacrifice of our soldiers will not go in vain, what did he have in mind?” asked the Congress leader.

“Why and where did the soldiers sacrifice their lives, and how will the government ensure that the sacrifice will not be in vain?” he asked.

Chidambaram said the defence of the nation and its territorial integrity were dear to the heart of every Indian. “We, therefore, seek answers to the questions with a view to re-double our commitment and present a picture of unity and solidarity,” he added.

On the call to boycott Chinese products, Chidambaram said that will not hurt China’s economy as Chinese trade with India was only a fraction of its world trade.

“We must become self-reliant as much as possible but we can’t decouple with the rest of the world. India must continue to be part of the global supply chain and not boycott Chinese goods. What part of Chinese trade with India is China’s world trade? It’s a fraction,” he said.

BJP chief JP Nadda also hit out at the Congress, alleging that its leaders were demoralising the Indian army.

“When we are fighting in Galwan, a leader is damaging the morale of forces with his tweets. He is showing his limited intellect,” he said, addressing a virtual rally in Rajasthan.

“(He is asking) why have our forces gone unarmed. Don’t you know international treaties? And they didn’t go unarmed. Why are you exposing your limited intellect?” Nadda asked.

He said India’s defence forces were capable of protecting its borders everywhere -- ocean, land or sky.

Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said while the nation stands with the government the people must be told the truth about the Galwan Valley clash.

“The nation stands with the govt against Chinese incursions. But was the incident in which our soldiers were martyred an incursion? If not then why did MEA ask for status quo ante? Is the Galwan Valley Indian or not? We do not need clarifications. We need the truth,” he tweeted.

In a tweet in Hindi earlier in the day, Yadav said, “Confused by Prime Minister ji’s statement on India-China LAC, people are asking if China had not intruded into our territory then under what circumstances did our soldiers die? Is China being given a clean chit?”

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