Amid a stand-off with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh, the Congress on Wednesday sought to corner the BJP-led NDA government over the claims about Chinese intrusions in Arunachal Pradesh made by a BJP MP from the state and asked it to come clean on the issue.
It also asked the government to give a "strong reply" to China as regular dialogues would not work, and India needs to use other means like trade to take it on.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said BJP MP Tapir Gao had in a recent TV interview claimed that China has occupied areas on both banks of the Subansiri River in Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Subansiri district and on the Indian side of the McMohan Line.
Tewari said ever since of about Chinese aggression into Indian territory emerged, the NDA government has been walking the extra mile to downplay these reports and was trying to obfuscate the facts on the ground.
"Will the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and his government come clean on the claims made by the BJP MP," he asked at a virtual press conference.
Tewari sought to know from the government if what Tapir Gao, the former BJP chief of Arunachal Pradesh, was saying was right or not.
"What is the truth behind what Tapir Gao is saying? There should be an immediate clarification from the government," he said.
Another Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said India cannot afford to have another Doklam-like situation in Ladakh and needs to look at other forms of leverage like trade to have successful negotiations with China.
Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam near Sikkim in 2017 after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army.
"We demand that the Government of India does not look at what's happening in Arunachal Pradesh or Ladakh as isolated incidents. These are grand designs and this needs to be responded strongly," Gogoi said.
"China needs a strong response from India, as regular dialogues won't work. Despite all meetings, the Chinese launched a strong, premeditated attack. China has learnt one thing from the Doklam episode that the (Narendra) Modi government is willing to settle for a military disengagement," he said.
Gogoi highlighted that the pattern of the Chinese Army shows they are gradually encroaching upon Indian territory across the LAC and the responsibility of protecting Indian territory solely lies with the government of India.
Tewari said BJP MP Tapir Gao has claimed that the Army has set up another base called new Majha, deeper in Indian territory after Chinese aggressions.
He said this is not the first time that Tapir Gao has made these revelations, as he stated the same in the Lok Sabha in November 2019, but the government has remained silent on the issue. Tewari also played a video of Gao's speech in Lok Sabha.
"We do know something with regard to Galwan valley, Pangong Tso lake, hot springs area in the western sector, and with regard to Chinese intrusion in Naku la in the Central sector. But, facts continue to remain opaque on the eastern sector which is perhaps most disputed," he said.