Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday attacked the government alleging it first surrendered its own land to China and is now jeopardising the country's neighbours by not pushing it back. Mr Gandhi cited NDTV's exclusive report confirming that China may be constructing at least two large, interconnected villages well within the territory of Bhutan.
"Modi Govt first surrendered our land and has now jeopardised our close neighbours by its inaction in pushing back China.
If you don't stand up for yourself, how will you stand up for your friends?," he said on Twitter.
Modi Govt first surrendered our land and has now jeopardised our close neighbours by its inaction in pushing back China.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 14, 2022
If you don't stand up for yourself, how will you stand up for your friends? pic.twitter.com/S0GjAWdfh3
The report cited by Mr Gandhi is based on high-resolution satellite imagery sourced by NDTV showing that these villages lie less than 30 km from the Doklam plateau where India and China had a tense stand-off in 2017 when Indian soldiers physically blocked Chinese road construction activity.
Bhutan and China have been in border talks for over four decades and while the outcome of these has never been revealed, there has never been any international declaration by Thimpu handing over an inch of its territory to China.
Bhutan has, historically, always relied on India, not just as a net-security provider but as an ally with a say in its foreign policy. While Bhutan's foreign policy decisions are now seen to be entirely independent, India and Bhutan remain extremely close allies, with Thimpu being well aware of New Delhi's concerns on Chinese expansionism.
China has been involved in border conflicts with India along the Ladakh border and also in Arunachal Pradesh where it has built enclaves in areas not physically patrolled by the Indian Army.
China's efforts at making inroads into countries it has border disputes with has been described as ''salami-slicing'' by India's late Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and has had a profound impact on the integrity of India's land frontiers.
Mr Gandhi has repeatedly attacked the Modi government over Chinese aggression along India's borders.