NEW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remark that neither is anyone inside India's territory nor has anyone captured its posts, with Rahul Gandhi accusing Modi of having "surrendered" Indian territory to Chinese aggression.
"PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: Why were our soldiers killed? Where were they killed," he asked on Twitter, tagging the prime minister's remark.
In a statement on the all-party meeting called by Modi on Friday to discuss the situation at the India-China border, the government said, "At the outset, prime minister clarified that neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured."
A host of senior Congress leaders have hit out at the prime minister, asking if there is no intrusion what is the fuss about and why flag meetings for de-escalation of borders are being held.
The categorical statement by the prime minister came in the wake of reports that Chinese military has transgressed into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border, in several areas of eastern Ladakh including Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in a conversation with his China counterpart conveyed that the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan Valley on "our side of the LAC".
"While this became a source of dispute, the Chinese side took pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties. It reflected an intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo," the External Affairs Ministry statement had said.
Former union minister P Chidambaram said, "PM said there is no foreigner (meaning Chinese) in Indian territory.
If this is true, what was the fuss about May 5-6? Why was there a fight between troops on June 16-17? Why did India lose 20 lives?".
"If there was no intrusion or violation of LAC, why was there so much talk about 'disengagement' of troops by both sides? "Has PM given a clean chit to China? If so, what is there to negotiate with China? Why are the Major Generals negotiating and about what," he asked on Twitter.
Terming the PM's statement last night as "baffling, shocking and devastating", senior party leader Jairam Ramesh said, "It has infuriated the armed forces an every Indian."
"If there was no incursion then what was it - an excursion? Geography and history seem to have been changed with these too-clever-by-half lines. Indians deserve the truth," he said in a tweet.
Party spokesperson Manish Tewari also posed a set of questions after the PM's statement.
"Does LAC run at Finger 8 or Finger 4 in Pangsang Sang Tso Lake? Is Galwan Valley Located on Indian or Chinese side of LAC? Have Chinese not transgressed 02 KM across IB in Naku-La? Were 20 Indian soldiers killed and 100 wounded - Indian or Chinese side."
Tewari also asked whether BJP MP Tapir Gao is lying when he says Chinese have occupied vast tracts of land in Arunachal Pradesh.
"If there are no Chinese in Indian Territory or our perception of LAC why flag meetings between two Armies? Indian Soldiers were captured in Indian or Chinese Territory," he asked.
Congress MP Vivek Tankha said he found the PM's statement "quiet strange".
"If nobody entered our border and none of our posts were occupied then what was the fight for. So many precious lives lost and so many injured. Am both perplexed and concerned. Take parliament into confidence," he tweeted.
The prime minister's assertion came even as Congress president Sonia Gandhi, at the all-party meet, questioned the government's handling of the situation, asking if there was any intelligence failure, and seeking assurance that China will "revert" to its original position.
Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused senior ministers in the government of "lying" to protect the prime minister and that the Centre was "fast asleep" while martyred jawans paid the price in Ladakh.
The former Congress chief also tagged a one-minute video of a jawan's father saying the Indian soldiers were unarmed when they were attacked by Chinese troops.
He has been questioning the government on the LAC standoff and asking how the Chinese occupied Indian territory and why Indian soldiers were sent "unarmed to martyrdom" in Ladakh.
Twenty Indian Army personnel, including a colonel, were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, the biggest military confrontation in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff in the region..