Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday ripped through Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement in Parliament a day earlier on the border dispute with China, claiming it only shows the Prime Minister is a coward who cannot stand up to the Chinese and is instead spitting on the sacrifice of the Indian Army.
He said that "while our Army is prepared to stand up against China and so is the Air Force and the Navy, the Prime Minister is not prepared" and that is why he has ceded India’s holy land to the Chinese.
"This is absolute 100% cowardice. There is no strategic advantage to India in the disengagement and the government has forgotten the negotiated position of status-quo-ante in April 2020," he said, rejecting the defence minister's claim of gains accruing to India. This was even more so considering that the Chinese forces have not withdrawn from more important strategic area of Depsang Plains as also Gogra and Hot Springs and the tract stretching from Finger 4 to Finger 3.
The Indian troops are now going to be stationed at Finger 3, instead of Finger-4, which is Indian Territory and where the Indian post used to be, Rahul pointed out. But why has this happened – the movement from Finger-4 to Finger-3 -- and why has the Prime Minister given up Indian Territory to the Chinese, he demanded.
He went on to ask: "Why have the Indian troops been asked to move back after risking everything to capture the Kailash range? What has India got in return?" He pointed out that even as India has given up its strategic advantage, thee Chinese were still in Depsang and Pangong.
Asked why he and other Congress leaders did not intervene in Parliament when the Defence Minister made the statement, Rahul said: "We were not allowed to intervene in the Lok Sabha; we were not allowed to raise it, and I am sure we will not be allowed to have a debate on it, 100 per cent."
In reply to a question on India's partial success on being able to extract the concession to patrol in Pangong Lake, he shot back: "What success? It is like you entered my home and then gave me back my living room and bed room. Do you call it success?"
When a correspondent pointed out that there is a "give and take" in such deals, Rahul flared up: "Give is clear. Gave area from Finger-3 to Finger-4. Give is clear that the Chinese are sitting in Depsong, Gogra and Hot Springs. But you tell me, where is the take? Why are you silent? The reason is clear. Our Prime Minister could not stand up against China."
He said: "The Prime Minister is betraying the sacrifice of our Army and nobody in India should be allowed to do so, nobody in the rest of the world should be allowed to do so....I think, people of India should be enraged about this. I am surprised that the Press is behaving in this manner, this is absolutely absurd. I mean, you have a responsibility to raise these things.’’
Asked whom will he trust if he can’t trust the defence minister's statement in Parliament, Rahul shot back: "I have trust in the Indian Army, in the Indian Air Force, in the Indian Navy.’’
-- Mystifying silence on withdrawal from dominant position in Kailash range, where Chinese are at a disadvantage;
-- India has always maintained control of Finger 4; why are troops now going to be stationed at Finger 3;
-- No mention of Depsang Plains; MoD describes it as an "outstanding problem."
-- No time frame for Chinese to vacate territory 18 km inside LAC up to Y-junction in Depsang Plains;
-- No word on "Gogra and Hot Springs," again described by MoD as "outstanding problems."
Also, why is the Ministry mum "on the unpardonable sin committed by a sitting Minister, Gen (retd) V.K. Singh, by unjustifiably painting India as the aggressor?
"Why has the PM not sacked Singh? Is it because the statement made him is at the behest of the Government? And, if so, for what reason?" the Congress leader asked.