'Deny, distract, lie, justify' is govt approach to China: Congress on viral video from Ladakh

As a video of an alleged altercation between Ladakhi shepherds and Chinese soldiers goes viral, Congress says PM Modi must explain when status quo will be restored

Representative image (photo: @kstanzinladakh/X)
Representative image (photo: @kstanzinladakh/X)

NH Political Bureau

A group of Ladakhi shepherds earlier this month apparently confronted Chinese soldiers attempting to obstruct their sheep-grazing activities near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, the Hindu has reported. The incident occurred near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where a video was purportedly recorded by one of those present on the scene.

On Tuesday, the video was shared by Chushul councillor Konchok Stanzin on X and Instagram, describing the encounter in which the shepherds can be seen assertively claiming their presence on Indian territory. Needless to say, the video went viral on social media.

In his post, Stanzin commended the resilience exhibited by the shepherds in standing up to the Chinese soldiers, though some of his commenters pointed out the 'worrying' fact that the Chinese soldiers, like the shepherds themselves, appeared to be speaking Tibetan, indicating that the Chinese army may be recruiting Tibetan youth.

Reacting to the incident, the Congress attacked the Narendra Modi government for "covering up the worst territorial setback in six decades for India with its DDLJ approach: Deny, Distract, Lie, and Justify".

"Chinese troops continue to deny Indian patrols access to the strategic Depsang Plains, Demchok, and other areas in eastern Ladakh. China continues to deny us access to 2,000 square kilometres despite 18 rounds of military talks. This video is only the latest example of Ladakhi sources on the ground puncturing the Modi government’s false narrative. These sources previously exposed how Indian troops have lost access to 26 out of 65 patrolling points and that the Modi government has agreed to buffer zones in which India cedes further territory," said Congress MP and communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh.

The LAC serves as a demarcation line between Indian and Chinese territories, but conflicting perceptions often lead to disputes and, in some instances, violent clashes between the forces of both sides. Remarkably, in this particular incident, the confrontation did not escalate to violence, successfully averting a potential clash, though some social media users did point out that a shared cultural heritage may have led to a relative lack of aggression on the part of the Chinese soldiers.

Acknowledging the cooperative efforts between the locals and Indian military, meanwhile, Stanzin wrote on X, "It is heartening to see the positive impact made by @firefurycorps_IA in Border areas of Eastern Ladakh in facilitating the graziers (sic) and nomads to assert their rights in traditional grazing grounds along the north bank of Pangong."

The Congress, however, presented a different story, stating that not only has PM failed to restore status quo in Ladakh in four years, but "China increases its stranglehold on Bhutanese territory in the past six years, despite hollow claims of an Indian victory in Doklam in 2017, which poses a major threat to India’s Siliguri Corridor, also referred to as the Chicken’s Neck. China continues to make inroads into Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives, to which India is responding with social media campaigns and the banning of Chinese apps".

The party also said PM Modi must take the people of India into confidence and explain to them how and when the status quo will be restored. And if he is unable to do so, the next government will have to take on this challenge.

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