Facing the India-China border: the Modi government with India or China?

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly attacked government over China issue (File)

New Delhi:

Rahul Gandhi may not be in the country as Parliament’s monsoon session takes place, but the Congressman is in no mood to give in and took to Twitter on Wednesday to continue his attacks against the Narendra Modi government during the standoff at the India-China border. .

Mr Gandhi, who accompanied his mother – Congress leader Sonia Gandhi – as she flew away for a medical exam last week, denounced the uncertainty over the extent of the Chinese presence in Ladakh and asked if the government was “with the Indian army or China”.

In a not-so-subtle double blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Secretary Amit Shah, Mr Gandhi tweeted: “Timeline AAP Samajhiye (Please understand the timeline) “and claimed that a few days before Prime Minister Modi said that China had not entered Indian territory, the Indian government” had taken out a huge loan from a bank based in China “.

Timeline AAP Samajhiye (Please understand the timeline). The prime minister said no one entered the border … Then took out a huge loan from a bank based in China … Then the defense minister said that China had encroached on the country … Now the Minister of State for Home Affairs has declared that there is no encroachment, ”Gandhi tweeted.

“Is the Modi government with the Indian military or with China? What is there to be so afraid of?” He asked.

This morning, the government told parliament that no infiltration has been reported along the LAC (Line of Real Control, the de facto border with China) in the past six months.

On Tuesday, however, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said China continued to illegally occupy about 38,000 km² of Indian territory in Ladakh and had repeatedly attempted to violate the LAC in mid-May.

The government’s response today indicated an attempt to downplay Chinese intrusions and emphasize that India has firmly maintained its positions along the LAC.

In June, Prime Minister Modi, in the days following the violence in Galwan, said: “Neither has anyone entered our territory or taken control of any post” – a comment interpreted by Congress as saying that China had crossed the border, because the alternative was that India had entered Chinese territory.

The Prime Minister’s Office subsequently clarified this remark and accused the opposition of willful misunderstanding.

Around the same time, according to the Reuters news agency, the government in June took out a loan of $ 750 million from the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The money was to help India tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic – in particular, bolster economic assistance to businesses, expand social safety nets and bolster healthcare, Reuters reported.

However, since then, the government has cracked down on trade ties with China, including banning Chinese-made mobile phone apps and canceling tenders with Chinese companies in retaliation for the Galwan incident.

Gandhi sharply criticized the Narendra Modi government on various issues, including its handling of the border situation with China and the lingering uncertainty over whether China has indeed entered and captured Indian territory.

On Tuesday, he tweeted after the defense minister’s statement in parliament, urging Singh “not to be afraid to take China’s name.”

Earlier this year, he accused the prime minister of “surrendering” to the Chinese and has since frequently alleged that the government is trying to deceive the public on the issue.

India and China have been in a serious border standoff since skirmishes were reported in Ladakh’s Lake Pangong area in May. The June violence was followed by at least four other confrontations, including at least two in which live ammunition was fired (like warning shots, not at each other).

Multiple talks at different levels – from military to ministerial – have so far failed to defuse the situation. Foreign ministers of the two countries met in Moscow last week and drew up a five-point plan to resolve the protracted problem.

This morning, sources said Indian and Chinese soldiers fired 100 to 200 rounds of “warning shots” on the north shore of Lake Pangong in early September.

With the contribution of Reuters

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