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Congress targets BJP govt over its China policy

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New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) The Congress on Thursday attacked the BJP government over its China policy, alleging that India's reliance on Chinese imports increased even though it encroached upon Indian land, violated the country's sovereignty in Arunachal Pradesh and managed to disrupt its close relationships with its neighbours.

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Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh, in a post on X, alleged, "Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has overseen a lost decade in our China policy. During his tenure, far from showing 'lal aankh', India has lost land and influence in neighbouring countries, while China has violated our sovereignty in Arunachal Pradesh and made incursions into Bhutan, all while its exports to India have risen to record levels!" He alleged that the prime minister was content with rhetoric and banning of Chinese apps, but failed to address five real issues in the past 10 years -- "encroachments onto territory, increasing reliance on Chinese imports, infringements on Indian sovereignty in Arunachal Pradesh, Chinese incursions into Bhutan, and loss of influence in Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka." On Chinese encroachments upon Indian territory, Ramesh said the prime minister declared at an all-party meeting in June 2020 that not a single Chinese soldier had crossed over into the Indian territory.

"This was a complete and shocking lie: In total, the Chinese have taken control of 2,000 square kilometres of Indian territories in Ladakh, and committed multiple transgressions in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand. India has lost 26 out of 65 patrolling points in Eastern Ladakh to China. Chinese forces continue to deny our patrols access to the strategic Depsang Plains to which we previously had unimpeded access," he claimed.

The Congress leader also alleged that there have been multiple instances of Chinese PLA troops kidnapping Indian citizens on Indian soil.

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"The PM's huge lie, made in public and on live camera, has been used by the Chinese all over the world to cover up their encroachments on Indian territory.

"In 1986 and 2013, under Congress governments, India responded aggressively to Chinese incursions, made counter-intrusions that held the line, and compelled the Chinese to withdraw. Prime Minister Modi, caught in a web of his own lies, is too scared to even declare that restoring the pre-2020 status quo is his objective," he alleged.

Ramesh said at a time when countries across the world are decoupling from China and reducing dependence on Chinese imports, under the Modi government, India has actually increased its reliance on Chinese imports.

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"India's share of imports from China before 2014 was around 11%. Since then, it has risen rapidly, averaging around 15% in the last few years. This huge glut of Chinese imports has crushed India's domestic industries, with the worst effects being felt on MSMEs," he said.

He also alleged that the prime minister has allowed Chinese imports to take over in strategic industries like steel and solar energy, as well as employment-generating ones like textiles.

"This is an economic challenge amidst the unemployment crisis of Modi's 'anyay-kaal', as well as a grave national security threat," he said.

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On the issue of infringements on Indian sovereignty in Arunachal Pradesh, Ramesh said, "...the Chinese government has violated Indian sovereignty repeatedly through its claims on Arunachal Pradesh: China has now built at least 2 villages, many kilometers inside Arunachal Pradesh, according to satellite images." Since 2017, he claimed, China has released at least three sets of Chinese names for places in Arunachal Pradesh. China has now released a fourth list of 30 “renamed” Arunachal Pradesh places and in 2023, the Chinese government issued “stapled” visas to athletes from Arunachal Pradesh travelling to China for the World University Games, effectively denying them recognition as Indian citizens, he alleged.

"After 10 years in power and 20 rounds of bilateral talks, the Modi government has been unable to do anything to stop China from the absurdity of 'renaming' Indian soil, or denying the Indian-ness of people from Arunachal Pradesh," Ramesh said.

He also alleged that China has been increasing incursions into Bhutanese territory, posing a security threat to a close ally as well as to India, saying China has built entire villages, along with roads and other infrastructure, in Bhutanese territory.

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"While the Modi Sarkar silently watches, China has strengthened its positioning along one of the most critical geopolitical points in India," Ramesh said.

Claiming a loss of influence in Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Ramesh said China has managed to disrupt India's close relationships with its neighbours, built carefully over 70 years but neglected by the Modi government.

He cited the examples of the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to say that China has increased its influence over them in the last decade.

"In Modi's tenure, China has succeeded in slowly but surely increasing its military and economic presence in Maldives, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka - we have suffered a tremendous loss of stature and influence in our neighbourhood," Ramesh alleged. PTI SKC SMN

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