LEH: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that not an inch of the land in Ladakh has been taken over by China is not true.
The people of Ladakh are concerned about their grazing land “taken over by the Chinese Army,” Gandhi, who is on a tour of Ladakh, said after paying tributes to his father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary.
“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,” Gandhi told reporters.
The Congress leader said he was planning to visit Ladakh during his Bharat Jodo Yatra but had to abandon the plan due to some “logistical reasons”.
“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,” he said.
Gandhi said ask anyone in the region, they will tell you that the grazing land has been “taken over by the Chinese Army”.
The Congress has been questioning the government over the border situation with China.
Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.
India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.
The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
The Congress leader, who drove along with several of his companions from Leh to Pangong on motorcycles on Saturday, celebrated the birth anniversary of his father on the banks of the lake this morning.
AICC in-charge of J-K and Ladakh Rajni Patel, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president Vikar Rasool Wani and former minister Nawang Rigzin Jora also joined Gandhi in paying tributes to Rajiv Gandhi, Leh-based Congress spokesperson Tsering Namgyal told.
Later, he said Rahul Gandhi along with several of his party colleagues left for Nubra valley where he is staying overnight before returning to Leh.
Gandhi reached Leh on Thursday and is scheduled to visit Kargil either on Monday or Tuesday, depending on his engagements in Leh district, the spokesperson said.