A file photograph of Siachen Valley
A file photograph of Siachen Valley

BJP President JP Nadda on Wednesday hit out at the Congress top-brass over its constant criticism of the current government’s handling of the China issue along Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh.

Citing a question answered in Rajya Sabha, Nadda tweeted, “Due to the misadventures of one dynasty: We lost thousands of square kilometers of our land. The Siachen glacier was almost gone. And much more. No wonder India has rejected them.”

Nadda highlighted a question raised by BJP member YS Chowdary in the Rajya Sabha in 2012.

Chowdary had asked the following questions:

(a) the details of land illegally occupied by Pakistan and China along the border;

(b) whether it is a fact that Pakistan and China are further encroaching the land of India;

(c) the population of the areas under unlawful possession of Pakistan and China;

(d) whether it is also a fact that China and Pakistan have changed the features of land occupied illegally by them; and

(e) the steps taken/being taken by Government in this regard?

To which the government answered

(a) Pakistan has been in illegal and forcible occupation of approximately 78,000 sq. kms. of Indian Territory in Jammu and Kashmir. China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq. kms. in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. In addition, under the so-called `Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement of 1963`, Pakistan illegally ceded 5180 sq. kms. of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to China.

(b) to (e) Government remains continually vigilant and is firm in its resolve to take all necessary steps to effectively safeguard India’s security and territorial integrity.Government is aware that Pakistan and China are executing projects in Indian territories under illegal occupation of those countries. Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s national interest and takes all necessary measures to safeguard it.

Nadda’s Siachen allegation

India and Pakistan have had several encounters in Siachen valley, but have on three occasions almost come to an agreement. The last one was in 2006 where a deal was almost struck, but for the role of former national security advisor MK Narayanan. India and Pakistan had twice previously tried having talks about the glacier – once in 1989 and the other in 1992. All three discussions were conducted when the Congress government was in power (1989 – Rajiv Gandhi; 1992 – PV Narasimha Rao; 2006 – Manmohan Singh)

Reportedly, according to former foreign secretary Shyam Saran’s book, Manmohan Singh was keen on the deal with Pakistan, and had even got concerned stakeholders on board, including the army that was headed by General VK Singh, who is now a senior BJP leader.

However, Narayanan launched an offensive saying that Pakistan could not be trusted. He was then backed by the Army Chief, who had until that point been on board with the negotiations, Saran wrote in his book.

Six years later, according to this India Today report, the Indian Army under VK Singh’s leadership, held a discussion on the strategic disadvantages of demilitarising Siachen, in wake of Manmohan Singh’s latest initiative to hold peace talks with Pakistan.

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