Cong amps up its China critique to put govt on the mat in G20 runup


New Delhi, Sep 03, 2023, IANS

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New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) Even as Chinese president Xi Jinping may give the G20 meet being hosted by India a miss, the Congress has been targeting the government over the new map issued by China showing Indian land in Ladakh and Aksai Chin as its territory..

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been in the forefront of targeting the government over the issue of land occupied by China in Ladakh. 


The matter snowballed further after China on August 28 released, what it called the “2023 edition of the standard map of China” showing Aksai Chin and the whole of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory, according to reports quoting local Chinese media. The map was released by China’s ministry of natural resources, they said.


The latest development has come four months after Beijing had announced in April that it will “standardise” the names of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh.


Also the release of the map has come at a time when the New Delhi G20 summit is less than a week away. The G20 summit is scheduled to be held between September 9 and 10.


Rahul Gandhi, who was on a nine day visit to Ladakh, attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said: “I spent a week in Ladakh and went to Pangong Lake. Right in front were the Chinese. I had detailed discussions with politicians and especially with the shepherds of Pangong Lake. They told me that the Chinese have taken Indian land and Prime Minister Modi is lying when he says that the Chinese have not taken our land. Every single person in Ladakh knows this. The people in Ladakh and India have been betrayed.”


“There is clearly accommodation between the government and the Chinese. The borders have changed. This is known to everybody. Unfortunately, the media does not talk about these issues. It is shameful what has happened in Ladakh,” he charged.


The issue of China occupying Indian land in Ladakh was raised by the Gandhi scion at the third crucial meeting of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) attended by 63 leaders from 28 parties, thus setting the tone for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 


Even on August 30, before leaving for Karnataka, Rahul Gandhi didn’t mince words and slammed the Prime Minister over the new map issued by China and said, “Our Prime Minister has said that not a single inch of our land has been taken. It is false.”


“Everyone knows that China has usurped our land,” he asserted.


When asked about China’s new map including Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin, the Congress leader said, “The issue of the map is a very serious topic, as they have intruded on our land and the Prime Minister should speak on that too.”


The Congress leaders feel that the BJP government has failed miserably by not holding a detailed discussion on the Chinese issue in Parliament and hiding the facts has only hurt India’s stand. 


Some leaders, wishing not to be named, said that the issue of China being raised by Rahul Gandhi is helping the party to take the issue to the people across the country and making people realize how Indian land is being occupied by China.


“By raising China issue, Rahul Gandhi is directly hitting at the image of the Prime Minister, as he had only earlier said ’56 inch ka seena’ and ‘lal aankh’. The image of Modi is taking the maximum beating and highlighting the diplomatic failures as well as government failure,” a party leader said.


He added that Rahul Gandhi touring the entire Ladakh region on a motorcycle and interacting with the youths and locals has given him a clear idea how much land of India has been occupied by China in the strategically important Ladakh region. 


With the Gandhi scion raising the issue of China at the INDIA alliance press conference, he has given a clear message to all parties to demand answers from the government.


A party source said that the Congress will also raise the issue of fresh revelations against the Adani Group, which came just before the G20 summit. 


Rahul Gandhi has also demanded a JPC probe into the Adani Group issue. 


Meanwhile, briefing the media on the BRICS summit in South Africa’s Johannesburg on August 24, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra when asked about the interaction between Modi and Xi, said that both the leaders agreed to direct their officials to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation.


Kwatra said that the Prime Minister underlined that maintenance of peace, tranquility in the border areas and respecting the LAC are essential for normalisation of India-China ties


During his conversation with the Chinese president, the prime minister highlighted India’s concerns on unresolved issues along the LAC, the foreign secretary informed.


“It was a conversation on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit where PM Modi talked about the LAC tensions. It was not a formal bilateral,” Kwatra told reporters.


Even this issue was raised by the Congress as party MP Manish Tewari said that the Chinese read out issued of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping’s meeting makes no mention of “disengagement”.


He also asked on whose terms, if any disengagement is happening.


Tewari, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib parliamentary seat, took to X (formerly Twitter) and said, “It is interesting that the Chinese read out of the PMO & President Xi Jinping’s meeting makes no mention of disengagement. Instead it says — meeting was held at India’s request, the two sides should bear in mind the overall interests of their bilateral relations and handle properly the border issue so as to jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border region.”


“Indian position: Modi and Xi agreed ‘to direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation’,” he said.  



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