Modi govt compromising India’s territorial integrity: Congress

After Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement in the Parliament on the face-off with China, the Congress on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi-led government of brazenly compromising ‘national security’ and India’s ‘territorial integrity’.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scared of even uttering the word ‘China’, much less ensuring that the Chinese are pushed back decisively from illegal occupation of India’s territory in Depsang Plains, Gogra-Hot Springs Sector, Pangong Lake area and Chumur in southern Ladakh.”

Surjewala also alleged that Rajnath Singh was trying to mislead the people by not giving full assurance on Chinese withdrawal from Indian territories in the areas mentioned above.

He said the Modi government and the Defence Minister refused to give an unequivocal assurance for restoration of status quo ante along the Line of Actual Control.

Surjewala alleged that the Modi government has always maintained that there has to be ‘complete disengagement and withdrawal of troops by the Chinese from the entire Ladakh area’.

Why is the Modi government agreeing to a selective disengagement only in the Pangong Lake area and that too by presumably changing the LAC to India’s disadvantage, Surjewala asked.

“Even in the Pangong Lake area, India was occupying Finger 4 and was patrolling up to Finger 8 on the north bank. India’s stance has been clear and unequivocal that the LAC is up to Finger 8. As per Defence Minister’s statement, Indian troops will withdraw now to Finger 3,” Surjewala said.

“Does this not tantamount to redrawing the LAC to India’s disadvantage and creating a buffer zone between Finger 3 and Finger 8, i.e., on our side of the LAC? Is this not a blatant compromise of India’s territorial integrity,” the spokesperson asked.

The Congress leader further asked that will the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister explain as to why the government is agreeing to withdraw the armed forces from the dominant positions in Kailash Ranges where the Chinese are at a disadvantage, without any quid pro quo by China?

“Does it not compromise national security? One of the most strategic and provocative incursions into the Indian territory by the Chinese is in the Depsang Plains. The Chinese have occupied our territory 18 km inside the LAC up to the Y-Junction (bottleneck) and are stopping our armed forces from patrolling up to PP-10, PP-11, PP-11A, PP-12 and PP-13.

“This has also jeopardised one of the most important and strategically placed air strips — the DBO Air Strip (DBO-Daulat Beg Oldi). India demands answers to the above mentioned questions,” Surjewala said.