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Rahul Gandhi’s ’15 minutes’ claim: From Nehru’s Himalayan blunder to UPA’s silence as China took over Indian land in Ladakh

While China kept making incursions into the Indian side of LAC and breaking agreements, the Congress was busy signing MoUs with the Chinese Communist Party and receiving donations from them. Contrary to Rahul Gandhi's '15 minutes' claim, UPA and former Congress governments did nothing to stop China.

During his speech at ‘Kheti Bachao Yatra’ in Kurukshetra Haryana on 6th October, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi said if UPA were in power, the Indian armed forces would have thrown out China from Indian Territory ‘in 15 minutes’. While talking about the Chinese ‘invasion’ on Indian land, he alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi says China did not enter India. Still, China controls over 1200 square kilometres of Indian land.

While talking about the Ladakh standoff, he said if UPA had been in power, the neighboring country would not have dared to look at India with evil intentions. He alleged that PM Modi had weakened the country. Gandhi also alleged PM Modi only cares about his image and do not care about what is happening in India. “They talk about ‘Bharat Mata’, but Narendra Modi gave 1200 square kilometers to China to save his image, it is the truth,” he added.

Earlier, Congress tried to spread fake information that China occupied 38,000 square kilometers of India’s land, insinuating that the occupation has happened under the NDA rule. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his reply in Parliament, said that 38,000 square kilometre of Indian land is under China’s control. Congress leaders, IT cell and their media counterparts had tried a lot to twist the statement, peddling the narrative that the land has been handed over to China by the Modi government.

 In reality, when Rajnath Singh mentioned the 38,000 square kilometres of Indian land occupied by China, he was talking about Aksai Chin, part of Ladakh occupied by China during the Jawaharal Nehru regime. In fact, Nehru was not even concerned about the illegal occupation, saying that not even a blade of grass grows there.

Nehru’s Himalayan blunder

Since Independence, Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru made several blunders that led to defeat in the 1962 war against China. As a result, China not only took control of thousands of square kilometers in Ladakh but also took control of the Coco Islands that would have become one of the strategically owned lands in the Sea for India.

Under Nehru’s watch, 5,180 square kilometres of Indian territory in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was ceded by Pakistan to China under the Boundary Agreement of 1963. That is another blunder made by Nehru where China took control of Indian territory and the then Congress government, headed by Rahul Gandhi’s great-grandfather did nothing.

Nehru had ignored warning from Army

The Army commander had tried to warn then-PM Nehru about a possible attack on India by China around two and a half years before the 1962 war. Nehru categorically ignored the warning that resulted in India losing the war.

Nehru and the then defence minister Krishna Menon did not feel the need to take professional military advice, and the result was that India suffered its worst-ever defeat during the Indo-China conflict in 1962.

Indian Air Force was kept out of the 1962 war

Air Marshal Denzil Keelor (Retd.), during an interview, said that PM Nehru made sure to keep Air Force out of the Indo-China war of 1962. There was no support for the Indian Air Force from the then-government at the centre. Keelor said Nehru depended on diplomacy and ignored the warnings and detailed assessments made by armed forces.

Had Jawaharlal Nehru paid attention to the detailed studies in 1960, India’s defeat at the hands of the Chinese could have been avoided. Keelor had stated that at the time of the war, Indian Army’s soldiers did not even have proper woollen clothing to face the weather and the difficult terrain of the Himalayas.

640 square kilometer land occupied under Manmohan-led government

Though Congress never admitted, the fact is China occupied over 640 square kilometres of Indian land during UPA’s tenure. From 2010 to 2013, China entered Indian territory for around 600 times. The landgrab happened after India and China signed nine agreements, including the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA). Though China itself presented the Agreement, it undermined the agreement and continued incursions into the Indian side. None of the bilateral agreements signed between India and China 1993, 1996, 2005, and 2012 managed to stop China’s plans to take over land that belongs to India.

Contrary to Rahul Gandhi’s claims of 15 minutes, the UPA was in power with Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister of India for 10 years between from 2004 and 2014. Yet, the then Indian government, controlled by Rahul Gandhi’s family did nothing about the Chinese incursions. In fact, they were busy signing MoUs with the Chinese Communist Party and receiving donations from them.

Congress wanted to let go of Siachen

Congress PM Manmohan Singh had even wanted to demilitarize Siachen, as a ‘peace gesture’ towards Pakistan. Siachen holds the utmost importance when it comes to keeping borders safe from the neighbouring countries. In 2006, according to former Chief of Army Staff General (Retd) JJ Singh, then-PM Manmohan Singh-led UPA government was possibly under the United State’s pressure to cede territories of Siachen glacier to Pakistan in a bid to settle disputes. If that had happened, it would have been catastrophic for India’s border security.

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