Congress leader Kapil Sibal attacks PM Modi over "brazen Chinese incursion" (File)
A relentless Congress today continued its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Ladakh violence and the India-China stand-off, with senior leader Kapil Sibal demanding the Prime Minister "clear the air on LAC (Line of Actual Control) and publicly condemn brazen Chinese incursion".
In a strongly-worded comments Kapil Sibal said the last six years - the time the Narendra Modi government has been in power - had seen India's "biggest diplomatic failures".
"Quick action should be taken to resolve the LAC issue with China. Prime Minister must address the people to clear the air and publicly condemn brazen Chinese incursion," Mr Sibal said, adding, "(PM) must promise that if anyone has captured Indian territory we will push them back. If you say so, the public and the entire opposition will stand behind you and your promise," he said.
He also cautioned the Prime Minister against relying on an economic blockade to resolve this crisis, a reference to widespread calls by a traders' body - CAIT (Confederation of All India Traders) - to boycott Chinese goods and tweaked rules by the government requiring all foreign firms to mention "country of origin" for their goods in a state-run online portal.
The government has also decided to "firmly tell" state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited not to use Chinese equipment for 4G upgrades. A Chinese firm given a railways contract was shown the door "in view of poor progress".
The Congress has been unsparing in its critique of the government since 20 Indian soldiers were killed, late on the night of June 15, in violent clashes with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh's Galwan region.
The wave of attacks has been stepped up since an all-party meeting held last week, during which PM Modi was quoted as saying: "Neither is anyone inside our territory nor are any of our posts captured".
The Prime Minister's Office scrambled to issue a clarification but the Congress interpreted this to mean Indian territory had been ceded to China.
Earlier today former Home Minister P Chidambaram tweeted satellite images showing the difference in build-up of Chinese forces along the LAC. "Spot the differences between May 22 and June 22, 2020 on the India-China border," the former Union Home Minister said.
Spot the differences between May 22 and June 22, 2020 on the INDIA-CHINA border. pic.twitter.com/nLZzc3fjuQ— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 27, 2020
Over the past week multiple satellite images accessed by NDTV appear to show the presence of Chinese structures and military vehicles on both sides of the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan river valley.
Last month images appeared to show construction at a high-altitude Chinese air base, located just 200 km from Pangong Lake, the site of an earlier skirmish between Indian and Chinese troops.
On Friday Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been vocal in his critique of PM Modi and the government's handling of the crisis, asked him to "speak the truth without being afraid" and confirm if China had occupied Indian territory.
Mr Gandhi has also described PM Modi as "Surender" Modi and posted a report by Chinese mouthpiece Global Times praising the PM for his comment.
The BJP has brushed off the attacks, with party chief JP Nadda saying earlier this week, "A dynast throws tantrums and his courtiers peddle a fake narrative... The nation is united and supportive of our armed forces. This is the time for unity and solidarity. Relaunch of 'the scion' for the nth time can wait".
"Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi are acting like mouthpieces of China. People of India are asking tough questions and they are running away. You have stolen the money from government of India," BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said on Friday.
With input from PTI