PM Modi's Claim Of Not An Inch Of Land Taken By China False, Ladakhis Complain Of Lost Grazing Land: Rahul Gandhi

During his visit to Ladakh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the people have been affected in a big way because their grazing lands have been taken over by Chinese army. He also said the lack of cellular connectivity also affects people.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim of not even an inch of Indian land taken by China is not true and Ladakhis have complained to him of grazing land taken over by Chinese army. 

India and China have been locked in a military standoff for over three years in Eastern Ladakh. Around 50-60,000 soldiders from both the sides along with battle- and war-waging equipment remain deployed in the region as talks continue at various levels to resolve the crises. 

Rahul and the Congress party have repeatedly slammed Modi and the Centre for their handling of the crises. Rahul is currently on a visit to Ladakh. 
Rahul told media, “All the people (in Ladakh) say the Chinese Army has intruded and taken over our grazing land and they (people) cannot go there now. They are clearly saying this even as Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) says that not an inch of land was taken over which is not based on truth."

Rahul said he was planning to visit Ladakh during his Bharat Jodo Yatra but had to abandon the plan due to some "logistical reasons". The Yatra began in Kanniyakumari and concluded at Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. The Yatra was meant to revive the Congress party and witnessed widespread pariticipation of commoners, public figures, and civil society members. 

Rahul futher said, "So I thought let me come and do a detailed tour of Ladakh. I came to Pangong and am going to visit Nubra and Kargil. The idea is to listen to what the people have to say and what their concerns are. Over here, the concern is of the (grazing) land that has been taken over by China. The people have been affected in a big way because their grazing lands have been taken over. Another concern of the people is the lack of cellular connectivity."

Ask anyone in the region, they will tell you that the grazing land has been "taken over by the Chinese Army", said Rahul, as per PTI.

In early 2020, Chinese soldiers entered Ladakh and clashed with the Indian personnel. This led to high tensions and deployment of around 68,000 personnel along with war-waging equipment including tanks, artillery, and fighter planes in the region. Then, on June 15, 2020, the India-China relations nosedived after 20 Indian soldiers and an unsepcified number of Chinese soldiers were killed in a clash at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh. Modi made the 'not an inch of land taken' statement after the Galwan Valley clashes. 

"Neither have they intruded into our border, nor has any post been taken over by them (China)...Today, we possess the capability that no one can eye even one inch of our land. India’s armed forces have the capability to move into multiple sectors at one go," said Modi after the Galwan Valley clashes, as per Hindustan Times.

Since the beginning of the standoff, India and China have held a series of military-, official-, and leaders-level talks. India maintains that the Chinese agggression at the border that led to the Ladakh standoff has driven the India-China relationship to its worst state since 1962 when the two countries fought a war that India lost. China has sought separation of the border dispute from the larger bilateral relationship but New Delhi has emphasised that peace and tranquility at the border is the basis of the larger bilateral relationship. 

On July 24, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of BRICS meeting in South Africa and a government statement quoted Doval as saying that the situation at the border "eroded strategic trust" and the public and political basis of the relationship. The statement further said Doval emphasised the importance of continuing efforts to fully resolve the situation and restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas so as to remove impediments to normalcy in bilateral ties, reported PTI. Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the need to stabilise bilateral relations at a dinner during the G-20 summit in Indonesia last year. The meeting went unacknowledged until last month's MEA statement.

As a result of talks, India and China completed the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area, but some points of friction still remain, such as the Depsang region. 

On Saturday, Rahul drove along with several of his companions from Leh to Pangong on motorcycles and celebrated the birth anniversary of his father Rajiv Gandhi on the banks of the lake on Sunda morning. All India Congress Committee (AICC) In-Charge of Jammu and Kashmit and Ladakh Rajni Patel, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President Vikar Rasool Wani, and former minister Nawang Rigzin Jora also joined Rahul in paying tributes to Rajiv, said Leh-based Congress Spokesperson Tsering Namgyal to PTI.

Later, Namgyal said Rahul along with several of Congress colleagues left for Nubra Valley where he is staying overnight before returning to Leh.

Namgyal further said that Rahul reached Leh on Thursday and is scheduled to visit Kargil either on Monday or Tuesday, depending on his engagements in Leh.