New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s comment that Indian soldiers were sent "unarmed to martyrdom" at Galwan Valley during violent face off with China, drew sharp rebuttal from external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday, while the ruling BJP described him as the “most irresponsible politician that India has seen.”
"Let us get the facts straight. All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving post. Those at Galwan on 15 June did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 & 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs," tweeted Jaishankar in a reply to Gandhi's tweet.
Earlier during the day, Gandhi had tweeted: "How dare China kill our UNARMED soldiers? Why were our soldiers sent UNARMED to martyrdom?"
Later, he uploaded a video clip of himself tweeting, “China has committed a crime by killing India’s unarmed soldiers. I want to know who sent these unarmed soldiers in the harm’s way and why. Who is responsible.”
Calling Gandhi the “most irresponsible politician that India has seen,” the BJP asked him to first “read, understand and then speak” on issues. The BJP cited an agreement signed with China in 1996 that prohibits weaponry use within two kilometers on both sides of the LAC to defend the government.
It also asked him and the Congress president Sonia Gandhi to explain the principal opposition party had signed an MoU with the Chinese Communist Party in 2008 to “consult each other on bilateral, international and regional issues.” The ruling party argued that such agreements are signed only between two nations and not political organisations.
Gandhi’s fresh attack came a day after he asked defence minister Rajnath Singh why he did not name China in his tweet and why it took him two days to condole the deaths of 20 Army personnel.
Lashing out at the Congress leader, BJP’s Sambit Patra said Gandhi’s lack of faith in the Indian government in these times has shown how irresponsible he is and Gandhi should realise that when he speaks against the Prime Minister, it is not against an individual man, but against the leader of the country.
“If you (Gandhi) don’t have the basic knowledge regarding the issue, then you are the most irresponsible politician that India has seen..please read, understand and then speak on issues…do not spread lies,” said Patra while asserting that it is not India of 1962 but of 2020 and it will win against all C’s -- Corona virus, standoff with China and Congress’s misinformation and propaganda.
Accusing the Congress leader of acting in an “immature and irresponsible manner” by attacking the PM, Patra reminded him that the government has already called an all-party meeting on Friday over the border row.
“You (Gandhi) don’t trust the Indian PM, defence minister, home minister and even the Army chief, who do you trust then,” asked the BJP leader while pointing that the Congress leader had questioned the surgical strike and “family members” of Mr Gandhi were dinning with Chinese envoy during the 2017 Doklam crisis, which the “Congress first denied before acknowledging it.”
Referring to the MoU signed between the Congress and the Chinese ruling party CPC, Patra claimed that the MoU was signed to build relationship between the “Nehru Gandhi family in particular” and the China’s ruling party.
“This MoU was signed by the then Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and the then CPC general secretary Xi Jinping, in presence of the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi to consult each other on bilateral, international and regional issues. Will the Congress leader explain it,” asked the BJP spokesperson.