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Congress slams Centre over 'Chinese shelters in Depsang'; questions when will status quo ante be restored

Posing questions for the prime minister, Shrinate asked why the prime minister is "looking in the other direction when permanent shelters and fortifications are being built in the Demchok and the Depsang areas".

Congress slams Centre over 'Chinese shelters in Depsang'; questions when will status quo ante be restored AJR
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First Published Dec 3, 2022, 5:04 PM IST

The Congress on Saturday (December 3) questioned the central government's "silence" over the issue and asked what steps were being taken by it to ensure status quo ante of April 2020 over reports citing China has built shelters in the Depsang area in Ladakh.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his handshake with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Indonesia last month. There was no immediate reaction from the government to the Congress' allegations.

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While the Congress has been attacking the Centre over its handling of the border issues with China, officials have maintained that India has significantly enhanced its border infrastructure in recent years with the Centre giving a major boost to such efforts following the eastern Ladakh standoff.

"On November 15, Modi had met Xi Jinping, the Chinese head of state. He was not showing angry red eyes, he was in fact adorning a red shirt and I wonder what he talked about as he met Xi Jinping after the supreme sacrifice of 20 of our bravehearts," Shrinate said.

She also cited media reports and said that in the area of Depsang, China has built temperature-regulated "shelters" that help any army personnel to be stationed permanently.

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"Two hundred such shelters have been built by China in our territory 15-18 km inside the LAC (Line of Actual Control)," she alleged.

"Remember, Depsang and Demchok are extremely strategic places for us. Also, remember China continues to occupy large parts of territory in the Depsang area," she said. Shrinate also showed photographs of what she said were satellite images showing that China is doing "huge fortification" both on land and at sea.

Posing questions for the prime minister, Shrinate asked why the prime minister is "looking in the other direction when permanent shelters and fortifications are being built in the Demchok and the Depsang areas".

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"The one question that Indian armed forces are raising, the one question several army personnel past and present are raising, defence experts are raising, is when will India return to status quo ante of April 2020 and what steps are being taken to ensure status quo ante is restored," Shrinate said.

She also asserted that the Congress will raise these issues at all forums available, including Parliament. The eastern Ladakh border standoff between India and China erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.

(With inputs from PTI)

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