New Delhi, May 22 () The Congress on Monday slammed the BJP-led Central government over the border situation in Depsang area of Ladakh, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public “clean chit” to China in 2020 “immeasurably weakened India’s negotiating position” and the “country is paying a heavy price for it”.
Reacting to a new report, party General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a statement: “Access to the strategic sector of Depsang has been denied to Indian patrols for more than three years now, with no signs of a return to the status quo.”
Now “we learn that, far from withdrawing, the Chinese are demanding a ‘buffer zone’ 15-20 km further inside Indian territory”, he said, adding: “This after having already intruded 18 km past our rightful border.”
Ramesh also alleged that the Modi government has already “ceded” territory in Galwan, Pangong Tso, Gogra Post and Hot Springs by “agreeing to buffer zones inside the Indian territory” in return for a Chinese withdrawal.
“The Modi government must stand firm against China. India cannot lose access to the 1,000 sq km Depsang plains that separate Chinese and Pakistani forces and is crucial to any defence of Ladakh,” he said.
Taking a pot shot at the Prime Minister, the Congress leader said, “PM Modi’s public clean chit to China on June 19, 2020, immeasurably weakened India’s negotiating position and the country is paying a heavy price for it. It’s bad enough that the Modi government has failed to restore the status quo in the last three years. To allow it to worsen would be unforgivable.”
The Congress has been demanding a discussion in Parliament over the China border row. It has also questioned Prime Minister Modi’s silence on the China issue on a number of occasions.