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Congress accuses govt of adopting 'callous attitude' towards national security

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New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) The Congress on Saturday accused the Narendra Modi government of adopting a "callous attitude" towards national security and viewing it from the lens of electoral advantage and for the prime minister's "self-aggrandisement".

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Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh alleged that Army Chief General Manoj Pande's recent remarks at his annual press conference are a timely reminder of the "serious deterioration" of India's national security environment under the Modi government.

"General Pande's remark that 'our attempt is to continue talks (with China) to go back to the status quo ante which existed in the middle of 2020' is a reminder that the Chinese continue to deny Indian troops access to 2,000 square kilometres of territory in Ladakh almost four years after their intrusion," he said in a statement.

Ramesh said the Army chief's observation that "Rajouri-Poonch has seen increased terrorist activities" and that "support infrastructure for proxy tandems in the Rajouri-Poonch sector from across the border continues" is a reminder that the menace of cross-border terrorism continues despite repeated false claims that it will end because of demonetisation or the removal of Jammu and Kashmir's statehood.

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Since August 5, 2019, he claimed, more than 160 troops have been killed in terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. The latest attack occurred as recently as January 12 on the troops in Poonch, this time fortunately with no casualties, the Congress leader said.

"The Modi government's callous attitude towards national security, which it looks at solely from the lens of electoral advantage, is also evident from the revelation in former Army Chief M M Naravane's book that the Army was 'taken by surprise' by the Agnipath scheme and that 'for the Navy and Air Force, it came like a bolt from the blue'.

"All of these examples show that for the PM, even national security has been reduced to an instrument of his personality cult and self-aggrandisement, at the cost of the country," Ramesh alleged.

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Ramesh also said that the prime minister's clean chit to China on June 19, 2020, when he said there was no incursion, was an insult to the fallen soldiers and contributed to continuing Chinese control of 2,000 square kilometres.

"Meanwhile, China is making inroads across our neighbourhood. The most recent examples are the fact that President Mohamed Muizzu became the first president of Maldives to visit China before visiting India and China's continuing inroads into the territory of our close ally Bhutan.

"The PM appears to believe that beach visits and social media campaigns are a substitute for real action to protect India's national interests," Ramesh alleged in his statement.

The Congress has been critical of the Narendra Modi government's handling of the border issue with China and has accused the government of being soft on China. PTI SKC SMN

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