Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has been shy about answering questions in parliament on Chinese incursions, Congress leader Manish Tewari said on Thursday, accusing the government of trying to dodge accountability in an effort to protect its muscular image.
“For the last 18 months, there has been not one substantive discussion in the parliament on the situation in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh,” Mr Tewari said at the launch of his new book ’10 Flash Points; 20 Years – National Security Situations that Impacted India’.
“Every question that I have asked of the government on the Chinese transgressions has been refused in the name of national security… there has been kind of a blanket attempt that no discussion will be permitted in parliament,” he said.
“The government had given an assurance that they would brief the opposition leaders – this was in the September of 2020 – and they reneged on that commitment. Every time an attempt is made to raise the Chinese transgressions in parliament, they are met with a wall of silence,” he added.
The Congress has been training its guns at the BJP-led government at the Centre over its response to Chinese incursions in Ladakh as well as reports of the country setting up settlements in what India officially considers to be its territory in Arunachal Pradesh.
Last month, after NDTV reported new satellite images that showed how China had constructed a second enclave or cluster of at least 60 buildings in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress questioned PM Modi’s silence on the issue and accused the BJP government of “deception and deliberate distortion”.
While the Prime Minister has not spoken about Chinese transgressions since his statement last year over the deadly clash in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley when he said, “No one has intruded and nor is anyone intruding, nor has any post been captured by someone,” and there have been few statements in parliament on the subject, his government last month acknowledged China’s efforts of strengthening its hold on illegally occupied Indian territory with a tactic commonly referred to as “salami-slicing”.
Responding to a question on a US government report, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had told journalists that China has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along border areas, including in areas it has “illegally occupied over the decades.”
“India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims,” he said.