New Delhi: No amount of obfuscation can hide the Modi government's failed China policy and its attempt to cover up India's biggest territorial setback in decades, the Congress alleged on Monday, hitting out at External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for his recent remarks on the issue.
In a statement, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also described the government's strategy in dealing with the Chinese in Ladakh as "DDLJ- Deny, Distract, Lie and Justify" and Jaishankar's remarks an implied cheap shot at former party chief Rahul Gandhi.
During an event on Saturday in Pune, Jaishankar had said some people deliberately spread wrong news about the China issue. His remarks were viewed as a dig at Gandhi.
"No amount of obfuscation can hide the fact that the (Narendra) Modi government has sought to cover up India's biggest territorial setback in decades that followed Prime Minister Modi's naive wooing of (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping)," Congress general secretary, communications, Ramesh said.
"We suggest that EAM Jaishankar and the government spend more time trying to get Chinese troops out of Depsang and Demchok, and less time on blaming the opposition for their own incompetence," he said.
"External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's recent remarks attacking the Congress are simply the latest attempt to divert attention from the Modi government's failed China policy, the most recent revelation being that since May 2020, India has lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points in Ladakh," he said.
There is no comparison between 1962, when India went to war with China to defend its territory, and 2020, after which India has "acquiesced to Chinese aggression with denials followed by 'disengagements' in which India has lost access to thousands of square kilometres of territory", he said.
The Congress leader said that Minister Jaishankar's implied cheap shot at Gandhi for meeting the Chinese ambassador in 2017 is ironic to say the least coming from someone who as ambassador to the US during the Obama administration presumably met with leading Republicans.
"Are opposition leaders not entitled to meet diplomats from countries that are important from a trade, investment and security standpoint," he asked.
Rather, he said, the Modi government should have been "truthful" from the start and taken the Opposition into confidence by discussing the China issue in parliamentary standing committees and debating it in Parliament.
He noted that at a very minimum, it should have held detailed briefings for leaders of major political parties.
The external affairs minister, when asked at the Saturday event about some leaders of political parties lacking confidence in India while speaking about China, had said there are some people in the Opposition who have such thinking which he finds difficult to understand. Sometimes such people spread wrong news or information about China on purpose, Jaishankar had said without taking names.
"If you want to ask why they have no confidence, why are they misleading people, why they spread the wrong 'khabar' (news) about China? How can I answer these questions? Because I know they are also doing politics. Sometimes they deliberately spread such news that they know is not true," he had said while interacting with the audience in Pune in a question-answer session during the launch of 'Bharat Marg', the Marathi translation of his book 'The India Way'.
"Sometimes, they talk about some land, which was taken by China in 1962. But they will not tell you the truth. They will give you the impression that this thing happened yesterday," the minister had said.
Jaishankar had also said sometimes some people say there is "soch me kami" (lack of understanding) in him but in that case, he will approach the military leadership, Army, or Intelligence.
"I will not call the Chinese ambassador and seek information," he said referring to Gandhi's meeting with him.
Gandhi had last September said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given "100 square kilometres of Indian territory" to China "without a fight," and asked the government how it will be retrieved.