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Hope ’56-Inch Strongman’ With ‘Red Eyes’ Has A Plan For Doklam: Congress

The opposition party also alleged that the Modi government's "uncertain" foreign policy and "continuous double-speak" on the issue was harming India's strategic interests.

New Delhi, Mar 27 (PTI) The Congress today expressed serious concern over the Chinese build-up in South Doklam which it said threatens national security and asked whether the “56-inch strongman” with “red eyes” has a plan to deal with the situation.

The opposition party also alleged that the Modi government’s “uncertain” foreign policy and “continuous double-speak” on the issue was harming India’s strategic interests.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he hoped the “56 inch strongman” had a plan for Doklam.

Gandhi’s comments came after China on Monday asserted that Doklam belonged to it and India should have “learnt lessons” from the stand-off last year.

In a reference to China’s statement, Gandhi said on Twitter, “Last week thousands took my Twitter poll. 63% felt Modi Ji would use hugplomacy, blame RM and cry in public to deal with the Doklam issue!

 

“For India’s sake, I hope you were wrong and our 56 inch strongman has a plan.”

Congress spokesperson RPN Singh alleged that India was facing persistent efforts by China to intrude into Chicken Neck – or the Siliguri Corridor — through Doklam, but a “clueless Modi Government is caught snoozing”.

“Modi may have forgotten his false bravado of a 56-inch chest and laal aankh, but four years down the line, people of India are still waiting for his ‘Tackle China Plan’,” he told reporters here.

Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi had talked about showing “laal aankh” (angry eyes) to the Chinese over repeated transgressions at the border and spoken about the might of a “56-inch chest”.

Singh said the BJP was “utterly consumed in managing headlines for domestic expansion” and had forgotten media reports on the Chinese military building a new road South of the Doklam plateau that would give China easy access to the corridor that connects India’s north-eastern states to the rest of India and threaten national security in the region.

Eight states including Sikkim, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura are connected with the rest of India through this narrow corridor in West Bengal.

“In the backdrop of the Chinese military moving closer to Chicken Neck, the Congress party would warrant a response from the defence minister and the prime minister in this regard. Mere lip service is no response,” he said.

Quoting media reports, he said on March 10, three Chinese military helicopters entered Indian air space at Barahoti, Uttarakhand. He said this was the fourth such intrusion in the area.

“Why have such intrusions become a routine affair? The Indian government cannot have multiple stands on the Chinese misadventure. It will only harm national interests,” he said.

Singh said in October 2017, Prime Minister Modi took on his critics and came very close to acknowledging victory at Doklam.

“After accepting victory and taking on his critics by calling them pessimists, will Modi acknowledge that there is a fresh threat to our borders now?

“How will he answer to China that Doklam is Chinese territory? Has Modi failed to secure India’s strategic interests as also the interests of a time-tested ally, Bhutan? Is India losing its influence in Bhutan to China,” he asked.

Singh said the number of face-offs with the Chinese on the LAC has shot up by 48 per cent last year and there were 415 transgressions by Chinese soldiers into the Indian side in 2017, as against 271 in 2016.

“What does it say about Modi’s empty rhetoric in election rallies? What steps has the Modi government taken to prevent these intrusions?

“How would the issue of the tri-junction at Doklam be decided in the future in this scenario? As we all know, this is an all-important issue for Bhutan and even more important for India’s strategic interests viz-a-viz Chicken Neck,” he said.

He alleged the Modi Government had failed to provide answers to these questions, but the Congress would always press for a disengagement of an India-China-Bhutan conflict at Doklam through diplomatic means.

“The Congress believes the Doklam issue should be sorted out by conversation, persuasion and diplomacy in the first instance in the interest of all the three countries,” he said.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam near Sikkim last year after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had said on Monday the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary had been demarcated and Dong Lang (Doklam) was China’s territory and that last year the two sides had resolved the incident with diplomacy and wisdom.

“We hope that India will draw lessons from that, abide by historical boundary treaties and basic norms governing international relations,” it had said.

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