Questioning the BJP’s “silence” on border issues with China, the Congress on Sunday dubbed the ruling party as “pseudo nationalist” and asked if it would speak out the “truth” about the “threat on our borders” and China’s growing influence in the neighbourhood.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera cited a news report about China getting active and building infrastructure in Chumbi valley which poses a serious threat to the Siliguri corridor that connects the northeastern states to the rest of the country.
“Today we demand from the so-called national executive of this pseudo nationalists’ party to come out and say something on China and share with the country the deadline on when will you be able to push China back from our territory and what are you doing to reduce Chinese influence in our neighbourhood,” he told reporters.
He said the developments in Afghanistan are only helping Pakistan and China, wile India pays a price for whatever happens in its neighbourhood.
“But, we don’t hear a word being spoken by this government,” he said.
”This is an occasion to ask the pseudo nationalist” whether they will open their mouth and say something on the growing threat from China across all our borders,” he asked at a press conference, after the BJP’s national executive meeting here.
Earlier in the day, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju hit out at the Congress for allegedly quoting a foreign media report to question the “credibility” of the government on the India-China border issue.
In a series of tweets, the BJP leaders claimed that “some mischievous media” wrote in bold that China has built a village inside Arunachal “and then slightly mentioned ‘at the area occupied by China in 1959’. What’s your purpose?” Rijiju said that “these people” deliberately don’t believe the Indian Army but quickly quoted a foreign story to “create a misleading headline to question the credibility of our government and strength of our army with a malicious motive to demoralise the nation”.
He also once again posted a short video of the then defence minister AK Antony’s purported remarks on China in Lok Sabha during the Congress-led UPA rule.
In a 2013 clip, Antony told the House that independent India had a policy for many years that the best defence is not to develop the border.
An undeveloped border is safer than a developed border, the then defence minister said, adding that China on the other had improved its infrastructure on the border.
The Congress had on Saturday sought an apology from Prime Minister Modi and asked him to “withdraw” his “clean chit” to China as it cited a Pentagon report that claims China has entered 4.5 km into Arunachal Pradesh.
“Why is the Indian government silent. The prime minister does not open his mouth and does not listen to the experts, veterans and the opposition and instead gives a clean chit to China,” Khera asked on Sunday.
“The massive price the country has paid due to this clean chit will go down in history as the biggest blunder of this prime minister,” he also said.
He said that trade with China has increased by 67 percent since last year and claimed it reflected the BJP’s pseudo nationalism as “they are not concerned about the safety of our borders”.
He also cited several instances of growing Chinese influence in the neighbourhood and said China has constructed a highway connecting the Bhutan and Nepal border and signed an MoU with Bhutan and tied up with it directly but the Indian government is silent.
“China is active against our interests and is building ties with the Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka besides Pakistan and is active there, still the Government of India is silent, and is instead giving it a clean chit,”‘ the Congress leader alleged.