Congress questions government on China’s activities in Doklam

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New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) The Congress party on Tuesday attacked the Narendra Modi government, saying its uncertain foreign policy and continuous “denials and doublespeak on the Chinese misadventure in Doklam” are harming India’s strategic interests.

The party also sought a reply from Prime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the backdrop of the Chinese military reportedly moving closer to the “Chicken’s Neck” — the Siliguri corridor that connects India’s north-eastern states with the rest of the country — through Doklam by building a new road.

It said India was increasingly facing Chinese moves to intrude into the Chicken’s Neck, but the “clueless Modi government has been caught napping”.

“Modi may have forgotten his false bravado of ’56-inch chest’ and ‘Laal Aankh’ (red eye), but for four years, the people of India are waiting for his ‘tackle China plan’,” said Congress leader R.P.N Singh.

“The Chinese foreign ministry’s statement yesterday (Monday) in the backdrop of an interview of the Indian envoy in China and the Chinese military’s recent actions in Doklam and Uttarakhand warrant a serious response from the Modi government.

“Neither the PM nor the Defence Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman), Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) or the External Affairs Minister (Sushma Swaraj), have come up with a proper reply on the situation,” he added.

The Congress party claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was so consumed in managing headlines for domestic expansion that it had conveniently forgotten and ignored the media reports highlighting the Chinese military’s road building preparations south of Doklam plateau that could provide China easy access to the Siliguri corridor.

“On August 28, 2017, the EAM (External Affairs Minister) in a statement said that both India and China had agreed on ‘expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the faceoff site at Doklam’ and it ‘is on-going’.

“But a Chinese foreign ministry statement had then said that ‘its armed forces shall continue to patrol the Doklam area’,” recalled Singh.

The party citing recent media reports noted that on March 10, three Chinese military helicopters violated the Indian air space at Barahoti in Uttarakhand.

“The helicopters ventured 18 km inside the Indian air space close to the ITBP posts and hovered for at least five minutes before returning. This is fourth such intrusion in this area over the last one month. Why have such intrusions become a routine affair?” he said.

The party further sought to know: “Has he (Modi) failed to secure India’s strategic interests as also the interests of a time-tested ally Bhutan? Is India losing its influence in Bhutan to China?”

The Congress party would always press for a disengagement at Doklam among India, China and Bhutan through diplomatic means to the satisfaction of all sides, Singh added.



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