New Delhi: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Leh and addressed frontline soldiers, the Congress on Saturday said the time has come for him to follow his “raj dharma” and tell the people of the country about the reality of Chinese “incursions”.
Addressing a virtual press meet, Congress leader Kapil Sibal used satellite images of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso from May and June to show Chinese structures in the area and asked the prime minister to at least speak the truth about it.
He also asked Modi to stop doing the politics of “illusion and delusion” and showing “red eyes” to China, and protect Indian territory.
“The times warrant India to look eye-to-eye at China and unequivocally tell them to retreat from their illegal and brazen occupation of Indian territory. Mr Prime Minister, this is the only ‘raj dharma’ that you must follow,” Sibal said.
Posing a set of five questions to the prime minister, he asked Modi to say whether the actual picture of “Chinese occupation of our territory” up to the “Finger 4 Ridge” in the Pangong Tso area depicts the truth on the ground.
“They say ‘pictures do not lie’. Will the prime minister now tell the nation — is this Indian territory on which radars, helipad and other structures have been built by the Chinese in a brazen act of transgression?
“Have the Chinese occupied our territory in Galwan Valley, including ‘Patrol Point 14’, where our 20 jawans of the 16 Bihar Regiment made the supreme sacrifice? Has China also occupied Indian territory in Hot Springs?” the Congress leader asked.
“Has China occupied our territory up to ‘Y-Junction’ (18 kms inside the LAC) in the Depsang plains, threatening India’s strategic DBO airstrip, which is the lifeline for our military supplies to the Siachen glacier and Karakoram pass?” he asked.
On Modi saying this is not the India of 1962 and the era of expansionism is over, the former Union minister said Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of the country, had told China then that India will never accept the Chinese claim-line.
According to Sibal, Nehru wrote to China, saying India will never submit to the demand for it to accept the Chinese 1959 line, whatever the consequences and however long and hard the struggle may be.
The Congress leader said paradoxically, the Chinese 1959 line clearly depicted the entire Galwan Valley in India and it was only on June 16, 2020, a day after the fatal clashes, that China formally laid claim, for the first time ever, to the entire Galwan Valley.
Sibal said former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri had visited forward locations to boost the morale of Indian soldiers and Nehru had also visited soldiers in the forward locations in NEFA in 1962 to boost their morale.
“But it appears that our prime minister stayed 230 km away in Nimu, Leh,” the he said, taking a swipe at Modi’s visit.
“Isn’t it correct that the local councillors of Ladakh, including BJP councillors, submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Modi in February about the capture of our land by China? What action did the prime minister take? Had he acted, wouldn’t we have been able to pre-empt the brazen Chinese transgressions?” Sibal asked.
In a clear message to China, Modi on Friday said the era of expansionism is over and that India’s enemies have seen the “fire and fury” of its armed forces, as he made an unannounced visit to Ladakh, signalling India’s firmness in dealing with the border row with the neighbouring country.
In an address to troops in Nimu, the prime minister paid glowing tributes to the 20 Indian soldiers killed in the Galwan Valley clashes and said tales of the bravery and valour of the armed forces are echoing in every part of the country.
“Bharat Mata’s enemies have seen your fire and fury,” Modi said, in an apparent reference to the military clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops, and asserted that bravery is a prerequisite for peace and that the weak can never accomplish it.