Why is the PM refuting the statement of defence minister, Congress said (File)
Stepping up the offensive against the government on the Ladakh stand-off, the Congress on Sunday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "endorsed the Chinese position" by saying there was no intrusion into the Indian territory.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at the Prime Minister, saying "Narendra Modi is actually Surender Modi". His comments came a day after he accused the prime minister of having "surrendered" Indian territory to Chinese aggression.
Mr Gandhi also tagged an article in a Japanese publication titled -- "India's appeasement policy toward China unravels".
Congress leader and former Union minister Kapil Sibal said the government should not remain in denial. It should not back down till the Chinese retreat and status quo ante is restored at the Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between India and China, he added.
At an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the situation along the India-China border, PM Modi had said: "Na wahan koi hamari seema mein ghusa hua hai, na hi hamari koi post kisi dusre ke kabze mein hain (Neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured)."
The prime minister's remarks triggered massive criticism, with the Congress accusing him of surrendering Indian territory to China. It asked where the 20 Indian soldiers were killed if the Chinese military did not come to the Indian side of the LAC.
"When China violated the LAC and staked claim on the Galwan Valley and you (PM Modi) said no one intruded into Indian territory, you are yourself saying what China is," Mr Sibal said at a virtual press conference.
"Has not the PM in a way endorsed the Chinese position that they never intruded into our territories. The PM must explain," he said.
"Let no one in the central government remain in denial. Until the Chinese retreat and status quo ante is restored, our government should not let up or appear to cede any part of these territories to the Chinese," he added.
Mr Sibal asked if the PM's statement wasn't an insult to the valour and supreme sacrifice of the soldiers who sought to evict the Chinese from Indian territory in Galwan Valley.
"Does the government mean that their sacrifice was in vain. Is it not correct that China has never claimed Galwan Valley as its territory? Is it also not correct that China has now committed brazen transgressions into Galwan Valley?" he said.
Mr Sibal said PM Modi's remarks contradict statements made by the defence minister, the external affairs minister and the Army chief.
"Why is the PM refuting the statement of defence minister on 'Chinese presence in large numbers' and EAM's statement that we seek to restore 'status quo ante'? Didn't the Army chief clearly state that ''disengagement'' is underway?"
The Congress leader, however, said the entire country stands behind the government in every step they will take to defend India's territorial integrity.