The Congress on Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the nation into confidence on the Chinese transgressions into India and asked him to address the concerns on national security, integrity, and sovereignty.
Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi claimed that the recent talks between India's external affairs minister and the Chinese foreign minister have "failed" and did not yield the desired result of maintaining the status quo ante as in April 2020 at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Gogoi also demanded a white paper on the issue, a two-day debate in Parliament, and a dedicated briefing to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. He alleged that the government's approach towards China has so far been "very weak" and said it is time that the prime minister should take the Chinese head-on.
"We demand that Prime Minister Modi takes the nation into confidence about the Chinese threat and take action by addressing a press conference by the prime minister, defense minister, and external affairs minister to explain the current situation followed by a White Paper," Gogoi told reporters. He also said that Congress wants the early appointment of a full-time Chief of Defence Staff, noting that the position has been vacant for seven months during a critical period for national security.
The party also demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme, alleging that it threatens to demoralize troops at a time of high national security threat. The Congress leader said, "the prime minister should stop appeasing China to protect his image and should act boldly and sternly". "More than two years after the border crisis with China began in eastern Ladakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strategy can be summed up with DDLJ: Deny, Distract, Lie, Justify," Gogoi said at a press conference.
Gogoi recalled the prime minister's speech where he said that no one has entered Indian territory, days after the country lost 20 brave soldiers in Galwan. He said it was no surprise that the latest round of talks in July between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi failed to show any results. While the Ministry of External Affairs’ statement following the meeting called on China "to complete the disengagement from all remaining areas", the Chinese statement made no reference to Ladakh whatsoever, instead, discussing Chinese concerns over Ukraine.
"We have reached such a sorry situation that the Chinese don’t even bother to acknowledge India's demands," Gogoi said, adding that China does not take India's concerns seriously. India and China have engaged in 15 rounds of talks at the Corps Commander level and 10 rounds of talks at the Foreign Ministry level under the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), he said.
However, during this period, China cemented its control with an unprecedented military build-up in Aksai Chin most recently including 5G networks up to LAC, five new heliports, and a large bridge across Pangong Tso, and a notable increase in air activity, he noted. "This expansion is aimed at giving China the capability of quick escalation and rapid maneuver in eastern Ladakh. It is clear that the Chinese are being hyper-aggressive, while our leadership prefers to deceive the Indian people under its DDLJ strategy," Gogoi alleged.
"The Congress party’s stand is crystal clear: the status quo ante prevailing on the LAC prior to 5 May 2020 must be restored at all costs," he demanded, adding that there can be no comprise on this.