Disengagement in eastern Ladakh is surrender to China, says A K Antony

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former defence minister A K Antony on Sunday alleged that disengagement in both the Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso Lake areas and the creation of a buffer zone was a "surrender" of India's rights to "appease" China.

Addressing a press conference, he said that at a time when India was facing multiple challenges at the border and was facing a two-front war-like situation, the increase in defence budget this year was "meagre and insignificant" and was a "betrayal" of the country.

He alleged that India is "appeasing" China by agreeing to disengagement and by not increasing the defence budget.

The government had on Friday emphatically stated that India has not "conceded" any territory following the disengagement agreement with China in the Pangong Tso Lake area in eastern Ladakh.

Antony along with Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala posed a set of questions to the government asking why it has withdrawn from patrol point 14 in the Galwan Valley to Finger 3 in Pangong Tso lake and created a buffer zone in Indian territory.

They also asked why the government has agreed to withdraw from the strategically important Kailash ranges on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake.

Antony said he was sad that the Narendra Modi government was not giving proper priority to national security at a time when China was getting belligerent and Pakistan continued to promote terrorism.

He said disengagement was good as it reduced tension but it should not be done at the cost of national security.

"Both disengagements in Galwan and Pangong Tso are a surrender," he alleged, adding that it amounted to surrendering of areas traditionally controlled by India. "We are surrendering our rights," he alleged, noting that Galwan Valley as Indian territory was never a disputed land even in 1962.

"Disengagement and buffer zone means surrender of our land, at the moment. Now, we cannot go there. They put sensors there," he alleged while warning that the government is not understanding the importance of this disengagement and creation of the buffer zone.

Antony alleged that the government did not increase the defence budget to "appease" China and to give a message that it did not want to confront them.

"To appease China, the government sent a message by not increasing this defence budget that we do not want to confront you. To appease China, we have agreed to disengagement on China's terms,"

he alleged.

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