New Delhi, Feb 12 : A day after the Defence Minister made a statement in Parliament about the disengagement process by India and China in eastern Ladakh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the government has conceded land to China.
His statement comes on the back of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announcing that India and China have reached an agreement on disengagement in the North and South bank of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh that mandates both sides to cease forward deployment of troops in a “phased, coordinated and verifiable” manner.
“Yesterday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement on the Ladakh border conflict with China. The Indian government’s position on April 20 was status quo ante. That was what they were negotiating for. Now, we hear that Indian troops are going to be stationed at Finger 3. Finger 4 is our territory. That was where our post used to be. Why is PM Modi gifting China Indian territory?” he asked.
He questioned why Indian troops were being moved back from Kailash Ranges, where Indian troops had captured strategic heights. “Why are Indian troops, after all the hard work, capturing Kailash Ranges, moving back? Why have the Chinese not moved back from Depsang Plains? What about Gogra and Hot Springs? PM Modi has given India’s land to China. The Chinese were in Depsang, they were in Pangong. Our soldiers risked everything to get to Kailash. That was our strategic advantage. Now, we have given it back. This is cowardice,” he said.
Earlier, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had announced that India and China have reached an agreement on disengagement in the North and South bank of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh that mandates both sides to cease forward deployment of troops in a “phased, coordinated and verifiable” manner. This comes as a breakthrough after a nine-month border standoff.
Sharing details of the pact to defuse the tense military face-off in eastern Ladakh that severely strained ties between the two Asian giants, Singh also assured the Rajya Sabha that India has not conceded anything in the sustained talks with China. India will not allow even an inch of its territory to be taken by anyone, he said.
The defence minister said, under the agreement, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will keep its troops in the North bank area to east of Finger 8, and the Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 in the Pangong lake areas, a major site of friction between the two large armies.
In the nine rounds of military talks, India had specifically insisted on withdrawal of Chinese troops from Finger 4 to Finger 8 on the North bank of Pangong Lake. The mountain spurs in the area are referred to as Fingers.
On its part, the Chinese side was insisting on withdrawal of Indian troops from several strategic peaks on the southern bank of the lake. Around five months back, Indian troops occupied a number of strategic heights in the Mukhpari, Rechin La and Magar hill areas around the southern bank after the Chinese PLA attempted to intimidate them in the area.