The Congress on Thursday posed a set of five questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on China and asked why he has imperilled national security for the sake of his vanity.
The opposition party also asked whether his obsession with image-building has come at the expense of national interests and why has his personalised diplomacy proven to be utterly hollow.
In a statement, Congress general secretary communications Jairam Ramesh said he had earlier asked a set of seven questions to the prime minister on China and another set of five questions on December 18, but no answers have been forthcoming.
चीन के मुद्दे पर प्रधानमंत्री से पांच और सवाल जिनपर देश उनकी प्रतिक्रिया और उत्तर जानना चाहता है। pic.twitter.com/N6gdgSrxXH— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) December 22, 2022
"We asked the PM a first set of 7 questions on China on 17.12.22. As expected, no answers were forthcoming, and it was followed by a second set of 5 questions on 18.12.22. Here's a third set of 5 questions to the PM for which the nation is asking and demanding answers from him," he said on Twitter.
The Congress leader said many have pointed out how "afraid the prime minister is" in taking the name of the country's chief adversary -- China -- and referred to what Kenneth Juster, who was the US Ambassador to India from 2017 to 2021, said: "far from naming China, your government asked the US not to mention China's border aggression in its statements".
"Would it not have been better to rally international opinion to our side? Why have you imperilled our national security for the sake of your vanity," Ramesh said.
"For the sake of your domestic image, you have thrown your effort into personalised diplomacy and projecting strong relationships with major world leaders. With your 'friend' President Xi Jinping you sat in a swing in Ahmedabad, shared cups of tea in Wuhan and shook hands in Bali," he said.
"As recently as October 2019 you met Xi again and declared that 'Chennai Vision is the start of a new era in India-China relations' and added that 'strategic communications between both the sides have increased'. Six months later the Chinese were communicating their strategic intent, from Depsang to Demchok, while you remained in complete denial. Has your personalised diplomacy not been proven to be utterly hollow? Has your obsession with image-building come at the expense of the national interest," the Congress leader asked.
Ramesh also said that some time ago the prime minister coined a new slogan "Inch towards Miles" in which "Inch" stood for "India-China" and "Miles" for "Millennium of Exceptional Energy". Then, the country saw the Chinese exert exceptional energy to take over thousands of square miles of its territory in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, he alleged and asked, "Would you agree that your naiveté and bad judgment cost the nation dearly?"
He also asked if it was true that when the senior officers of all three armed services assembled at the Combined Commanders’ Conference on INS Vikramaditya in 2015 told the prime minister that they all considered China to be India's prime military threat, he replied: "I believe that China is not a military threat at all to India."
"Does this not reflect a level of delusion and overconfidence against all the available evidence," the Congress leader asked.
"The Chinese incursions in early 2020 were a strategic surprise that caught us unprepared. The last time we faced a comparable military surprise was in Kargil in 1999. Why do BJP governments that cloak themselves with 'nationalism' so often fall victim to such surprises? Could it be that they are more interested in politicking and attacking the Opposition than ensuring the safety of the country? When will we have an accounting of the China surprise as we did following the Kargil war," Ramesh questioned.
The Opposition has been seeking a discussion in Parliament on the border situation with China but the government has not agreed to it terming the issue very sensitive.
Insisting with its demand for a discussion, the Opposition has been causing disruptions in Parliament ever since the start of the Winter Session on December 7 and has been staging walkouts.