Mumbai, June 27: In an apparent snub to Congress lawmaker Rahul Gandhi over his relentless criticism of the Modi government on India-China face-off, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said matters of national security should not be politicised. Speaking to reporters in Maharashtra's Satar on Saturday, Sharad Pawar also defended the Modi government, saying no one can be blamed for the standoff at Galwan Valley. Won't Allow Any Unilateral Change of LAC, Clarifies Government on PM Narendra Modi's Remark on Galwan Face-Off at All-Party Meeting.

Asked for his response to Rahul Gandhi's allegation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has surrendered Indian territory to the Chinese aggression, Pawar said one should not forget what had happened in 1962. "We can’t forget what had happened in 1962 when China occupied 45,000 square kilometres of India’s territory. While making these allegations, one should also look at what had happened in the past. This is an issue of national interest and once should not bring in politics here," the NCP chief said.

Rahul Gandhi-led Congress has been targeting the Modi government over India-China face-off in the Galwan Valley. Recently, several Congress leaders released video messages, asking the Modi government to clarify whether China has occupied Indian territory. Pawar further said the Centre cannot be blamed for the face-off at Galwan Valley during which 20 Indian soldiers were martyred on June 15. Pawar's NCP is an ally of the Congress and they are part of Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

"Our soldiers tried to push back Chinese army men when they tried to encroach upon Indian soil. To say this is the failure of anyone or of the defence minister isn’t correct. Had our army not been on alert, we wouldn’t have known Chinese assertion," Pawar said. "The scuffle itself means that we were vigilant else we would have been caught unaware. Hence, I don’t think such allegations are fair to make," he added, ruling out the possibility of a war.

Reacting to Rahul Gandhi's question to the Modi government that why Indian soldiers were unarmed, Pawar cited the agreement between India and China when two nations decided not to use guns at the LAC. China had last week claimed its sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an all-party meeting said that there are no intrusions into the Indian territory in Ladakh, and not a single Indian border post is overrun.

This had led to confusion about the violent clashes between Indian and Chinese troops deployed at LAC in the Ladakh region. PM Modi's statement was widely highlighted in the Chinese media to point out that Beijing did not infiltrate into Indian territory. Referring to PM Modi's remarks, Rahul Gandhi has been saying that the Prime Minister is helping China but not acknowledging Chinese aggression.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 27, 2020 06:31 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website