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China preparing for war, Indian govt asleep: Rahul Gandhi

JAIPUR: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged on Friday that China is preparing for war while the Indian government is asleep and trying to ignore the threat.

He also hit out at External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, saying he keeps making remarks but needs to deepen his understanding.

Gandhi also alleged that China has taken away 2,000 square kilometres of Indian territory, killed 20 Indian soldiers and is “beating up our jawans in Arunachal Pradesh”.

He slammed the media, saying he is sure that reporters would ask him about everything from Sachin Pilot to Ashok Gehlot, but not a question on China.

“I can see the threat of China very clearly. I have been clear on this for the last two-three years, but the government is trying to hide it and ignore it. This threat can neither be hidden nor ignored. Their (China’s) full offensive preparation is going on…the Indian government is asleep,” Gandhi told a press conference here, referring to conflicts on the borders of Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

“The government does not want to listen to this but their (China’s) preparation is on. The preparation is for war. It is not for incursion, but for war. If you look at their weapon pattern, what they are doing — they are preparing for war. Our government hides this and is not able to accept it,” the former Congress chief said.

He said this is happening because the BJP-led government does event-based work and does not work strategically.

“They think in terms of event management, but where geostrategy is involved, event-based action does not work, power works. I have said three-four times that we should be careful and should understand what is happening,” he said.

“They keep making statements. I see the external affairs minister keeps making remarks. I should not say it, but he should deepen his understanding,” Gandhi said.

The Congress has been accusing the government of succumbing to pressure from China and not taking on the neighbouring country after its frequent transgressions at the border.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hit out at the Congress leader, with its IT department head Amit Malviya saying every proud Indian has seen videos of Indian soldiers thrashing their Chinese counterparts, except Gandhi, who continues to doubt their valour just because he signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese, his family enjoyed Chinese hospitality and received funds in RG Foundation.

Earlier in the day, the Congress upped the ante on the government over the Sino-India border issue citing the “ballooning” trade deficit and said while trade is “normal” with the neighbouring country, the border is “abnormal”.

Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “exonerating” the Chinese with his 2020 statement on the border standoff and asked whether what happened back then was an “incursion” or an “excursion” by the Chinese.

Hitting out at the prime minister over his “silence” on the issue, Ramesh also alleged that Modi “forced” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to read a “most wishy-washy” statement in Parliament earlier this week, following a recent face-off between Indian and Chinese forces in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, and asserted that it was the opposition parties’ democratic right to seek a debate on the important issue.

“The prime minister has met the president of China 18 times. (Former external affairs minister) Sushma Swaraj said trade and terrorism cannot go together. But after China disturbed the LAC arrangement in April 2020, our imports from China have zoomed, our trade deficit has ballooned,” he told PTI while participating in the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra here.

“So trade is normal but the border is abnormal. How can we reconcile this with what Sushma Swaraj had said in respect to Pakistan?” Ramesh asked.

Congress general secretary in-charge organisation K C Venugopal also slammed the government over the Sino-India border issue, saying those who used to talk about nationalism when they were in the Opposition are not even allowing a discussion on the border issue in Parliament.

“They (BJP) talked a lot about this type of Chinese aggression but now, they are not even allowing a discussion in Parliament. We are very much concerned about territorial integrity. China day by day is entering our territory, the government is keeping mum,” he said.

Where will it be debated other than Parliament, he asked.

“The prime minister should make a statement, there should be a discussion on these things,” Venugopal told PTI while walking in the yatra.

The Congress has been saying that the prime minister should take on China and address the border issues with it strongly by looking “eye to eye”.

The opposition party has also been seeking a discussion in Parliament on the border issue and Chinese transgressions at the border.


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