Pawar's comments came in response to a query about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's charge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had surrendered Indian territory to the Chinese aggression.
Pawar also said the Galwan Valley incident in Ladakh cannot immediately be labeled as a failure of the Defence Minister, as Indian soldiers were alert during patrolling. Speaking to reporters here, the former Union minister said the entire episode is "sensitive" in nature. It was China that played the provocateur in the Galwan Valley, he said.
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with their Chinese counterpart in eastern Ladakh on the night of June 15. The former defense minister further said India had been constructing a road in Galwan Valley within its limits meant for communication purposes.
"What happened was they (the Chinese troops) tried to encroach on our road and were pushed physically. It was not somebody's failure. If somebody comes (within your territory) while you are patrolling, they may come at any time. We cannot say it is the failure of the Defence Minister sitting in Delhi," Pawar said. Patrolling was on there. There was a scuffle, which means you were alert. Had you not been, you would not even have realized when they (Chinese troops) came and went.
Hence, I don't think it is right to make such an allegation at this juncture," he said. Responding to the allegation raised by Rahul Gandhi, Pawar said one cannot forget that China captured around 45,000 sq km of India's land, after the 1962 war between the two countries.
"That land is still with China. I don't know if they (China) have encroached on some area now again. But when I make an allegation, I should also see what had happened when I was there (in power). If such big land was encroached upon then, it cannot be ignored. It is a matter of national security and it should not be politicized is what I feel," he said. Asked about BJP MLC Gopichand Padalkar's recent remark against him, the NCP chief said the legislator was rejected by voters in the elections previously and there is no need to take note of his remark.
Padalkar had said that "Pawar was a corona that has infected Maharashtra". Pawar also made light of former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' claim that the NCP had wanted to join hands with the BJP two years ago.
"Right now, he has a lot of time. Hence, he keeps something or the other for publicity," Pawar quipped.