Amid a war of words between the Congress and the BJP over the face-off with China, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said matters of national security shouldn't be politicised and added one cannot forget China had captured about 45,000 sqkm of Indian territory after the 1962 war.
Mr Pawar's comments came in response to a query about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's allegation's that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "surrendered Indian territory" after Chinese aggression.
The NCP chief said the Galwan valley incident in Ladakh cannot immediately be labelled as a failure of the Defence Minister, as Indian soldiers were alert during patrolling.
The former union minister said the border tension is "sensitive" in nature. It was China which played the provocateur in Galwan valley, he said.
Twenty soldiers laid down their lives for India in a violent face-off with Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh on the night of June 15.
The former defence minister said India had been constructing a road in Galwan valley within its limits meant for communication purposes. "What happened was they (the Chinese troops) tried to encroach on our road and were pushed physically. It was not somebody's failure. If somebody comes (within your territory) while you are patrolling, they may come at any time. We cannot say it is the failure of the Defence Minister sitting in Delhi," Mr Pawar said.
"Patrolling was on there," he said. "There was a fight, which means you were alert. Had you not been, you would not even have realised when they (Chinese troops) came and went," Mr Pawar said. "Hence, I don't think it is right to make such an allegation at this juncture," he said.
Responding to the allegation raised by Rahul Gandhi, Mr Pawar said one cannot forget that China captured around 45,000 sqkm of India's land after the 1962 war.
"That land is still with China. I don't know if they (China) have encroached on some area now again. But when I make an allegation, I should also see what had happened when I was there (in power). If such big land was encroached upon then, it cannot be ignored. It is a matter of national security and it should not be politicised is what I feel," he said.