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'Modi ki Chinese guarantee', Kharge taunts PM amid agitation in Ladakh

Kharge asserted that the Congress remains committed to protecting Ladakh and securing national interests at the borders.

Modi ki Chinese guarantee,  Kharge taunts PM amid agitation in Ladakh

Modi, during his address at Nimu in Ladakh (PTI)

NEW DELHI: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday alleged that the Modi government has put the country's territorial integrity and national security at risk in dealing with China and is also "attacking the constitutional rights of our own citizens of Ladakh".

Kharge asserted that the Congress remains committed to protecting Ladakh and securing national interests at the borders.

"Modi Ki Chinese Guarantee! In Ladakh, there is a strong wave of public support, with unified calls for protection for tribal communities under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

"But like all other guarantees - 'Modi Ki Guarantee' to assure Constitutional rights to the people of Ladakh remains a colossal betrayal. It is nothing but fake and Chinese in nature," the Congress chief said on microblogging site X.

His remarks come amid climate activist Sonam Wangchuk's hunger strike in support of statehood and constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule for the Union Territory of Ladakh.

Wangchuk, a renowned education reformist, has been on ‘climate fast’ in Leh since March 6, a day after talks between the joint representatives of Leh-based Apex body and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) heading an agitation in support of four-point demands and the central government hit a deadlock.

The Sixth Schedule contains provisions related to the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram through autonomous district councils.

Kharge alleged that the Modi government wants to exploit the eco-sensitive Himalayan glaciers of Ladakh and benefit its "crony friends".

"PM Modi's CLEAN CHIT to China after Galwan Valley, post the sacrifice of our 20 bravehearts, has emboldened the expansionist nature of China at our strategic borders (sic).

"On one hand, Modi government has put our territorial integrity and national security at risk, and on the other hand, it is attacking the Constitutional Rights of our own citizens of Ladakh," the Congress chief claimed in his post.

On the eastern Ladakh standoff, he said despite "at least 19 rounds of one-on-one talks between PM Modi and his Chinese counterpart since 2014, Modi government has failed to ensure status quo ante before 2020".

He claimed that China continues to occupy Indian territory at Depsang Plains, Hot Springs and Gogra regions.

Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh also attacked the government over its China policy and posed questions to the prime minister.

"On June 19, 2020, at the all-party meet on China, the prime minister declared that not a single Chinese soldier had crossed over into Indian territory. However, Chinese forces continue to deny our patrols access to the strategic Depsang Plains to which we previously had unimpeded access," he alleged.

"There have been multiple instances of PLA troops kidnapping Indian citizens on Indian soil, with a BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh also alleging that the PLA had abducted 19-year-old Miram Taron for ten days in 2022," Ramesh said on X.

During the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Itanagar, Rahul Gandhi also met the family of Tapor Pullom, who has been missing since he was abducted by the PLA in 2015, he noted.

"By giving a public clean chit to China, the prime minister has tied his own hands and failed to take action and restore the status quo after Chinese aggression.

"Was the prime minister lying to the people back then? Why have we not been more aggressive and made counter-intrusions that can hold the line and compel the Chinese to withdraw fully as we did in 1986 and 2013?" he said.

When is the government declaring that restoring the pre-2020 status quo is their objective, Ramesh asked.

Pointing out that India's share of imports from China before 2014 was around 11 per cent and has since then risen rapidly, averaging around 15 per cent in the last few years, Ramesh said the proportion of imports from China has swelled even as the value of these imports has increased, and it has cost our domestic industries tremendously.

"For instance, almost 30-35% of India’s stainless steel MSMEs in the prime minister’s home state of Gujarat have had to shut down between July and September 2023 due to the heavy influx of cheaper Chinese imports. Gujarat represents 80 per cent of the MSMEs in the sector," he said.

"This decimation of a crucial domestic industry like steel is not just an economic challenge amidst the unemployment crisis of Modi’s Anyay-kaal, it is also a national security threat," Ramesh claimed.

What is the prime minister's plan to rescue the country's domestic industries from being inundated by cheap Chinese imports, he asked.

"Suspiciously, quite a few China-based or Chinese-owned firms have donated to Modi’s pet project, the PMCARES Fund," he claimed.

Since 2017, China has released at least three sets of Chinese names for places in Arunachal Pradesh, Ramesh said.

"In 2023, the Chinese Government issued 'stapled' visas to wushu athletes from Arunachal Pradesh travelling to China for the World University Games. Why has the Modi Sarkar been so silent in the face of these unprovoked aggressions? Why has the Prime Minister met Xi Jinping at least 20 times since coming to office in 2014?" he said.

Ramesh said that China has also sought to and actively succeeded in disrupting India's long-standing ties with the Maldives.

China has become Maldives's largest external creditor, with an outstanding debt of about USD 1.37 billion, he pointed out.

"Maldives has also deployed Turkish-made military drones with attack capabilities to replace the Indian aerial watch.

"What is the prime minister’s plan to salvage India’s strategic position against Chinese interference in its own neighbourhood?" he said and asked the prime minister to break his silence on these issues.

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