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Disengagement in areas of eastern Ladakh is surrender to China: Antony

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New Delhi, Feb 14: 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.

Disengagement in areas of eastern Ladakh is surrender to China: Antony

Addressing a press conference, he also 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 is meagre and insignificant and was a "betrayal" of the country.

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

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," he alleged, while warning that the government is not understanding the importance of this disengagement and creation of the buffer zone. He warned that China can play mischief anytime by helping Pakistan in Siachen.

"We want to know from this government when there will be status quo ante as on mid-April 2020 in the entire India-China border," he said, asking what was the government's plan in this regard. He also said that the government must take the country and the people into confidence on restoration of status quo ante at the borders.

He said the government always consulted leaders of all political parties before taking such a decision and must keep national security in mind. Antony alleged that the government did not increased 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.

When the whole country is facing serious challenges from both China and Pakistan, the senior Congress leader said the armed forces are demanding support and substantial increase in the defence budget. "But compared to last year's revised defence budget, this budget has made a meagre and insufficient increase of only 1.48 per cent.

"It is a betrayal of the country. The government has let down our armed forces. The government is not paying proper attention of national security," he further charged.

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