Subramanian Swamy, a senior parliamentarian from India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has launched a political attack on the Narendra Modi government for not acknowledging the "land grab" by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) along the eastern Ladakh border, the site of an ongoing military face-off between the two countries.
It is a great blunder not to acknowledge China's grab of our territory in Ladakh and Arunachal. This has been publicly confirmed by BJP's MPs elected from these two states.When opportunity comes I will ask Rajnath. MEA will only say we are negotiating "disengagement". Means what?— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) January 18, 2021
Swamy said in his tweet that the matter concerns not only eastern Ladakh, but also Indian territory in northeastern Arunachal Pradesh. New Delhi's control of the territory is also disputed by Beijing, which claims it is part of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
Tapir Gao, a BJP Member of Parliament (MP), alleged back in June 2020 that PLA troops were "regularly patrolling" inside India.
Thupstan Chhewang, a former MP from Ladakh, in October of last year claimed the PLA had transgressed further into Indian territory at Pangong-Tso. The latter is one of the disputed points and where the militaries of the two countries have been engaged in a standoff since April 2020. The ex-MP made his observations during an interview with the newspaper The Hindu.
The claim by Chhewang was denied by the Indian Army, with the federal Press Information Bureau (PIB) labelling it "fake news".
.@the_hindu citing a claim, has published that Chinese troops have further transgressed into Indian territory and occupied positions in Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of #PangongTso Lake.#PIBFactCheck: It is a #Fake news. @adgpi has refuted this statement. pic.twitter.com/PvNjUQRCt4— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) October 30, 2020
In his statement to the Indian Parliament on the border standoff in September, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh claimed that Indian forces had foiled "transgression" attempts by Chinese troops in the eastern Ladakh region.
Singh noted that China was "not honouring" its border agreements with India, describing the ongoing military face-off as a "complex one".
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during an address to an all-party meeting, said that "nobody has intruded" into Indian territory. The remarks were made in the wake of the deadly Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh, which led to the deaths of 20 Indian soliders in hand-to-hand combat with Chinese troops.
पूर्वी लद्दाख में जो हुआ, इसको लेकर आपने रक्षा मंत्री जी और विदेश मंत्री जी को सुना भी और Presentation को भी देखा । न वहां कोई हमारी सीमा में घुस आया है और न ही कोई घुसा हुआ है, न ही हमारी कोई पोस्ट किसी दूसरे के कब्जे में है: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 19, 2020
The PM's statement has since become a political hot potato, with key opposition MP and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accusing the government of "surrendering" Indian territory to China.
A subsequent clarification by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) over the no intrusion claim accused the opposition of a "mischievous" interpretation of Modi's statement.
The Galwan Valley clash between the two countries was the most fatal border flare up between the two countries since the 1962 war.
Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar last month said the bilateral relationship had been "profoundly disturbed" by the Galwan Valley incident.
Several rounds of military commander-level talks and the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) meetings between Beijing and New Delhi have failed to resolve the border deadlock. The most recent WMCC meeting was held on 18 December, as per India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The MEA also informed media at its weekly briefing last week that the two countries were maintaining "close communication through diplomatic and military channels with the objective of ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the western sector and for full restoration of peace and tranquility".